Highlanders score late, edge St. Albans 51-50
HUNTINGTON - Alezha Turner broke St. Albans’ press and Emily Foley broke the Red Dragons’ hearts.
Turner beat the press and found Foley wide open under the St. Albans basket, where Foley banked in the winning shot with 7 seconds left to give Huntington High a 51-50 girls basketball victory Thursday night in Lucas-Archer Gym.
“She was way open,” Turner said of Foley.
So was Madison Slash, who joined Foley behind the Red Dragons defense. Two St. Albans defenders collided in pursuit of Turner and another player fell as the speedy guard made her way up court before sending a bounce pass to Foley for the score.
The game remained interesting, though, as Turner stole St. Albans’ inbound pass and was fouled. She missed the front end of a free throw bonus situation and Foley rebounded and was fouled with 1.3 seconds left. Foley, though, missed both foul shots. The Red Dragons rebounded and Tiara Jackson’s heave from near her own foul line fell well short.
“It wasn’t very pretty,” Highlanders coach Lonnie Lucas said of a game that had six lead changes, 28 turnovers, a blown eight-point lead by HHS and a combined 14 missed free throws, nine by Huntington High. “We gave up a whole lot of foul shots.”
To Lucas’ consternation, St. Albans scored 22 points from the free throw line. The Red Dragons, though, fell one made foul shot short of sending the game to overtime.
“We knew how athletic Huntington High was and they’re a lot better than they were last year,” Red Dragons coach Scott Tweedy said. “It came down to a play here or there.”
Tweedy said he would have preferred a victory but liked much of what he saw from his team.
“We can take a lot from this,” Tweedy said. “We’ve been playing pretty well. We won a tournament in South Carolina, then beat Hurricane and that gave our girls a lot of confidence.”
Both teams are 7-4. The seven victories by the Highlanders surpasses by one their win total from all of last season.
“It was really just determination,” Turner said of HHS’ gutting out the victory. “We’re tired of losing. We’re tired of people telling us we’re bad. We needed to go out and show them.”
Huntington High was balanced, with Ravyn Goodson leading way with 12 points. Latahia Jackson scored 11, Foley 10 and Turner and Madison Slash nine. Slash also grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked five shots, four in the first quarter.
Tiara Jackson led St. Albans with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Aamyah Washington scored nine points and snagged 10 rebounds.
The Red Dragons again at 4 p.m. Saturday at Morgantown. The Highlanders return to the court at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at home vs. Cabell Midland.
ST. ALBANS 12 11 14 13 - 50: Thornburg 8, Washington 9, Clark 2, Parsons 3, Lester 1, T. Jackson 13, V. Jackson 6, Minzman 6, Oxley 2.
HUNTINGTON HIGH 13 11 19 8 - 51: Jackson 11, Turner 9, Slash 9, Goodson 12, Foley 10.