Eagles fall to champsBy Dave Morrison
On the night Patrick Patterson returned to the Huntington lineup, it was his supporting cast which stood out.
Chris Early had 15 points, including a couple of key three pointers, as the Class AAA No. 1 Highlanders survived a scare at No. 2 Woodrow Wilson Friday at the Raleigh County Armory.
Woodrow Wilson’s Mario Walton missed a 10-foot jumper from just inside the free throw line as time expired to secure the win for Huntington.
The Highlanders did not score in the final four minutes of the game, after Patterson’s dunk gave Huntington a 51-44 lead.
Woodrow crept back in the game, on a Chase DeWese three pointer — his fourth of the game — a pair of free throws from Mario Thompson and one-of-two free throws from Walton with 1:07 remaining.
That set up a flurry of activity at the end.
Huntington’s Michael Taylor looked to extend the lead but missed an eight-foot runner in the paint with 40.7 left.
Woodrow got the ball back and, after a time-out with 20.9 left, Marcus Manns misfired on a drive with three seconds left. Both Travis Parkulo of Woodrow Wilson and Bruce Senior of Huntington ended up with the ball. Woodrow had the arrow and regained the possession.
On the inbounds, Walton caught the ball, went back up and his shot caromed off the glass, hit the front of the rim and bounced out.
“We got the shot we wanted,” Woodrow Wilson coach Ron Kidd said. “All you can ask for is a shot to win the game at the end and I thought we got that.”
For the high-powered Highlanders, who averaged 83 points, it came down to defense to win it.
“I’m a firm believer in defense and rebounding,” Huntington coach Lloyd McGuffin said. “You’re going to have runs in games like this. If you play defense and rebound the ball, good things are going to happen.”
Patterson had 10 points, eight rebounds and five blocks after missing two games with an ankle injury, suffered in a season-opening 87-38 win over Clarksburg Notre Dame.
Neither team led by more than eight.
Woodrow held that margin early in the third quarter at 35-27.
But Huntington’s Chris Early wiped that out with back-to-back threes and, after a Woodrow basket, his two at the 4:04 mark completed a 10-2 run and drew Huntington even at 37-37.
“Those were big baskets when we needed them,” McGuffin said of Early’s threes. “Things weren’t looking too good for us at that point and he stepped up. He’s capable of doing that and we needed it tonight.”
Huntington’s biggest lead of the game was 51-44 late.
“I thought our kids battled back and didn’t give up,” Kidd said. “There are no moral victories. We don’t ever like to lose but we especially don’t like to lose at home. Still, I thought we showed we could play.”
“Their ranking is legitimate,” McGuffin said. “You aren’t going to come in here and blow them out. I’m thrilled with this victory. I’m happy to get out of here with the win.
DeWese led Woodrow (1-1) with 15 points. Marcus Manns added 10 and six rebounds.
Taylor and Jamaal Williams had eight apiece for the Highlanders (4-0).
Huntington returns home for a game with Capital Dec. 30. Woodrow is off until Jan. 4 when the Eagles host Spring Valley.
Patrick Patterson 4 2-4 10, Jamaal Williams 4 0-0 8, Chris Early 6 1-4 15, Wes Clayton 2 0-0 5, Heath Thomas 2 0-0 4, Michael Taylor 3 1-2 8, Bruce Senior 0 1-2 1. Totals: 21 5-12 51.
Chase DeWese 5 1-1 15, Mario Thompson 3 2-2 8, Marcus Manns 4 1-1 10, Tyler Coleman 4 0-0 8, Travis Parkulo 3 0-2 6, Mario Walton 1 1-2 3, Chris Yambrick 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20 5-8 51.
H (4-0) 15 12 17 7 — 51
WW (1-1) 15 16 11 8 — 50
Three-point goals: H: 4 (Early 2, Clayton, Taylor); WW: 5 (DeWese 4, Manns); Fouled out: None.