CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Ask Capital High junior Jordan Kinney who is the best player on the Cougars' boys basketball team, and he'll point toward his senior teammate Carrington Morris. On Thursday night, though, it was Kinney who was the headline act.
Kinney scored a game-high 35, including nine of Capital's last 11, as the Cougars came back to defeat Riverside, 63-60, at Capital.
It actually was Morris who put the Class AAA No. 3 Cougars (6-1) ahead for good, knifing in for a layup with less than a minute to go. Kinney then stole the ball with 18 seconds left, was fouled by Riverside's Tamar Lawson with 10.3 seconds left and hit two free throws for the final score. The Warriors (4-3) had one last chance to tie, but Capital's Tyrell Davis swiped the ball with time running out before Riverside could even take a shot.
Morris, the Kanawha Valley's third-leading scorer at 21.8 points per game entering Thursday's contest, had an off night with 13 points and didn't score in the second half until 7:20 remained in the game. On the nights that happens, Kinney said the Cougars need to prove they're not a one-man show.
"(Morris) is our best player, so everyone's going to key on him," Kinney said. "People just have to step up, and tonight was my night."
Slow starts to both the first and second halves put the Cougars in deficits from which they had to overcome. The toughest came when Riverside began the second half on a 13-0 run while Capital missed its first six shots, and the Cougars' nine-point lead became a 43-39 setback.
Cougars coach Carl Clark said the long stretches between practice opportunities played a part in that. Snow, cold weather and the Elk River chemical spill kept Kanawha County students out of school and basketball players out of the gym.
"We were raggedy the whole night," Clark said. "It showed that we hadn't been able to get any continuity in what we were doing out there, because we haven't practiced."
Riverside coach Ryan Carter said the layoff played a part in his team's performance as well. In the Warriors' run to start the second half, Carter said his players finally began playing as a team, but they started running out of gas as the game wore on.