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University beats Highlander girls on senior day

January 27, 2019

HUNTINGTON — Class AAA No. 7 University came to Huntington on Senior Day and spoiled the final home game for two Highlanders’ upperclassmen with a dominant 55-45 victory at Lucas-Archer Gym Saturday.

University (11-5) was led by junior guard/forward Ashten Boggs who notched a gamehigh 17 points scoring outside with 3-point jump shots and inside the paint to aid her team. Huntington (8-8) was bolstered by the play of guards Alezha Turner, Katie Swann and Latahia Jackson but it wasn’t enough.

Turner led the team with 15 points followed by Swann with 10. Jackson was limited to five points but drove the lane easily against University only to find the taller, bigger-bodied Hawks awaiting.

“We’re not rebounding and we need to better with our freethrow shooting,” Jackson said. “We weren’t boxing out and we needed to hustle more.”

The Hawks’ backcourt, composed of a trio of 5-11 juniors, Boggs, Abbie Coen and Mallory Napolillo who beat Huntington to rebounds and points in the paint. While Huntington got to the free throw line, it shot 8-of-16 there, including 1-of-4 in the fourth quarter as the Hawks began to pull away.

Huntington kept University close, allowing the Hawks to build no more than a six-point lead through the first three quarters. The Highlanders entered the fourth period trailing just 43-39.

Boggs hit a 3-pointer to open the quarter, then Napolillo scored on a feed to her underneath the basket and guard Lauren Dean sank a triple to give University a 51-41 lead. Napolillo got another bucket in the paint before Huntington ended a scoring drought of 3:22 with a foul shot from Jackson.

Napolillo added University’s final field goal at 2:04 to play and Turner sank a three-pointer to set the final score.

Boggs said the offensive output had been an area of focus for the Hawks during their practices, including getting her to shoot the ball more.

“We always work hard on (defense),” said Boggs. “Our offense today was a big improvement.

Turner and Swann figured to give University problems as the two Huntington guards led the Highlanders to a 6-2 lead. Napolillo closed that gap with a basket and University took its first lead on a Boggs three pointer at 4:20 of the first quarter. Huntington would not lead again.

By halftime, the Hawks had a 28-22 lead.

Junior forward Madison Slash began the third quarter with two quick field goals and Huntington answered a three by Selena Jenkins with a goal by Emily Foley to make it a 31-30 University lead. Huntington was unable to get the offense it needed to take the lead and by the end of the third University led by five.

Foley and Kierra Crawford, Huntington’s only seniors on its young team, were honored before the game on senior day. Crawford, who battled ACL injuries throughout her career called the game “bitter sweet,” while Foley said she was still focused on Huntington’s final games, including contests at Hurricane, at Spring Valley and the Mountain State Athletic Conference Night of Champions that will mark the final regularseason game.

Huntington next will be at No. 4 South Charleston Wednesday.

UNIVERSITY 19 9 15 12 — 55: Murphy 6, Dean 6, Boggs 17, Jenkins 3, Coen 10, Napolillo 13.

HUNTINGTON 15 7 17 6 — 45: Swann 10, Jackson 5, Turner 15, Slash 6, Goodson 5, Foley 4.

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