Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

GIRLS BASKETBALL ; Huntington Deals South Charleston First Loss of Season

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

GIRLS BASKETBALL ; Huntington Deals South Charleston First Loss of Season

Article excerpt

HUNTINGTON - Coming into Thursday night, South Charleston was the lone team in the top six of the preseason Class AAA poll yet to stumble at least once. Huntington ensured that heading into next week's poll, the first since the preseason, that none of the preseason favorites made it to the new year unscathed.

The Highlanders (6-1), ranked second in the preseason poll, used a 10-1 first half run to give themselves some breathing room and were able to hold the No. 3 Black Eagles at bay in coasting to a 53- 43 home win.

Huntington's pressure defense forced 25 turnovers and on a night where both teams struggled a bit with their shooting touch, the miscues were the glaring difference.

"To make them turn it over 25 times, Huntington coach Lonnie Lucas said. "We thought we could get them with the press and change it up a little bit.

"You give a team like this 15 or 16 extra possessions, you're not going to win, SC coach Gary Green added. "They've got a good press but that wasn't what killed us, it's what we did after we got through the press. That's the only bright spot to this is that we handled the pressure pretty well. We played tonight like we've been practicing over the holidays.

After a nip-and-tuck first quarter, the Highlanders were able to stretch a lead out at the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second, as turnovers and missed shots began to pile up on SC.

The Black Eagles turned it over 15 times in the opening half and hit just 2 of 14 shots from the field in the second period.

Huntington's swarming defense provided several opportunities and the Highlanders were able to take advantage of enough of them to lead by as many 11 before settling for a 30-21 halftime advantage.

That lead never got below eight again and every time South Charleston seemed to start to find itself on the offensive end, the Highlanders had an answer.

Early, it was Lexie Sheffield who scored 10 of her 14 points in the first half. Jordyn Dawson, who won last year's Mary Ostrowski award as the state's best player, also scored 10 in the first half and finished with a game-high 16. …

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