Top seed Huntington eliminates St. Amant
SHREVEPORT - No. 1 seed Huntington broke open a tied ball game late in the second quarter with a nine-point explosion before half-time and never looked back on way to a 91-70 Class 5A regional playoff victory over St. Amant Tuesday night at HHS’ gym.
“The last three minutes of the second quarter was the difference in the game,” St. Amant head coach Gary Duhe said. “We let them play street ball.”
With the undersized Gators’ two big men, Rashaun Claiborne and Steve Fulkerson on the bench with two fouls, Javoris Hinton nailed a 3-pointer before Jacobee Lee hit another following a five-second call. But the real-back breaker was Shamir Davis’ 3-pointer at the buzzer from half-court that capped the run to put Huntington ahead 45-36 at half-time.
“We had great preparation and were focused,” Duhe said. “We probably played the best game we played all year and it was a lot closer than the score indicated. I felt like they were beatable and we had a legitimate shot even though they have four guys going on to play Division I college basketball. They are the best team we have played but we played extremely well and we felt like we could get the ball inside and score on them. We did that and got their big guy in foul trouble but the guard justwent off on us.”
Davis finished with 37 points to lead all scorers for Huntington. Kendrick Washington, the Raiders’ 6-8 inside presence added 18, while Lee provided 17 and Hinton had seven.
“(Davis) missed one shot all night,” Duhe said. “It was a tough matchup. Bruce (Mathison) is as good of a defender as I have been fortunate enough to coach but the kid just scored over him. It wasn’t what we weren’t doing. Sometimes you have to give the opponent credit. He just knocked down some shots.
“We have quick guards and they were just quicker than us. They extend you so much because of their length. It is just hard matchups for anybody. They are going to be bigger and more physical that any team that they play.”
St. Amant led by as many as eight points in the first quarter as Brandon Morris poured in 11 early points but Huntington trimmed it to 21-17 going into the second quarter.
“We couldn’t have drawn it up any better the way we needed to play,” Duhe said. “ We had total control of the game up till the end of the second quarter. They had to beat us. I don’t like losing but we gave a very good effort. We got beat by a better basketball team.”
Morris and Claiborne each finished with 22 points for St. Amant. Mathison added 10, while Nick Morris provided nine and Steve Fulkerson had seven.
The Gators cut it to five in the third quarter after Washington picked up his fourth foul but Davis would pour in 14 points over the frame as the Raiders held a 68-53 lead going into the final stanza.
“We just could never get it down to a workable situation,” Duhe said. “In the last four minutes we tried double teaming real hard trying to come up with steals and that opened the floor up for them and allowed them to extend the lead.”
Huntington moves on to face No. 24 seed Mandeville in the quarterfinals. St. Amant ends the season with a 23-11 overall record.
“It was a fun year,” Duhe said. “We gave the community something to rally around. I thought we had a team that people enjoyed watching because they played so well together.”