CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Arick Nicks converted 1-of-2 free throws with 2.5 seconds left and No. 5 Huntington beat seventh-seeded Hurricane 55-54 in a Class AAA state championship game.

“That’s the way you want a championship game—to come down to the last seconds,” Huntington coach Ronald Hess said. “We picked our defense up in the third quarter to to get our energy back. These kids played hard and never got down and I’m so proud of these kids.”

CLASS A: Wheeling Central def. Charleston Catholic 64-55 (2 OT)
CLASS AA: Bluefield def. Robert C. Byrd 64-39
CLASS AAA: Huntington def. Hurricane 55-54

Nicks caught an inbounds lob from halfcourt and was fouled by Hurricanes’ standout J.T. Rogoszewski on the shot attempt. That turned out to be an effective second option on the play, which was designed to find mighty-mite bomber Tavian Dunn-Martin.

“You’ve got to give Nick Tubbs a lot of credit there. They switched on Tavian so he threw the ball high up there to Arick,” Hess said.

After missing the first foul shot and waiting through a Hurricane timeout, Nicks drained the second attempt.

“(The timeout) actually helped me get my mind together,” said Nicks, who wound up 4-of-7 on free throws. “I got myself together and took my time.”

Hurricane’s last chance, a 60-foot heave from Henry Sorsaia, fell short at the horn and the Highlanders faithful went justifiably berzerk.

Rogoszewski gave his thoughts on the final inbounds play: “I saw Dunn-Martin go to the corner, so I jumped over there. I left Nicks a little open and I got over there and they called a foul.”

Added Hurricane coach Lance Sutherland. “It’s just a shame that it comes down to something like that where it’s taken out of their hands.”


Ben Queen/MetroNews photo

Huntington’s Arick Nicks (4) draws a foul with 2.5 seconds left leading to the decisive free throw in a 55-54 win over Hurricane for the Class AAA title.


Huntington’s 5-foot-6 Dunn-Martin, who scored 20 points, tied the game with 48 seconds left on the fourth of his 3-pointers, this one with two defenders in his face. The supremely confident sophomore then popped his jersey toward the section of Huntington fans behind the basket.

“After the second jumper I hit off a pump fake drive to the middle, I knew I found my stroke,” Dunn-Martin said. “My teammates kept finding me and I knocked them down.”

Though Hurricane tried to hold for the last shot, Nicks stole the ball from Sorsaia near the sideline and across the floor Hess signalled timeout with 3.5 seconds left.

On the Redskins bench, Sutherland knew his team had missed an opportunity.

“We said hold it for a last-second shot,” Sutherland said. “Whoever had the advantage was to take it to the basket and score.

“We thought (the defense) would be tight and if we took it to the basket they would foul us. It just didn’t work that way.”

At worst, Hurricane had figured it was headed to another overtime game, having played three extra periods the previous night in beating Hedgesville.

Instead Huntington designed its final play, which wound up in the hands of the senior center Nicks, who took the ball up and capped a fourth quarter that saw three ties and six lead changes.

“Helleuva game,” a somber Sutherland said. “Our kids never quit and never gave up,”

Nicks finished with 10 points and eight rebounds.

Hurricane was led by Trey Dawson’s 15 points, including three 3s. Rogoszewski finished with 14 and Sorsaia chipped in 12.


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  • darrell n

    my cousin arick nicks is a many people doubted that team...but they proved the haters wrong....congrats to them...if I still lived in Huntington I would of been routing for them...

  • al

    Huntington team has no class

    • Steve

      What are you referring to, al?

      • al

        The whole team

        • Wow

          WOW! You only saw 6 kids working hard on the floor to win a game! There were 8 others on the bench, 4 coaches & 2 support staff members....but, the whole team has no class? At least Huntington did not boooo anyone!

          • Al

            Didn't have enough fans to make that kind of noise..
            Again very unclassy bunch

  • Maxine

    Can't you just be happy for these boys that worked Their butts off!!! And give credit to the coach. Last I heard I don't think the coach get paid hundreds of thousands and the kids get paid anything, they do it for the love of the game

  • Tony

    It's "hell of a game" not "helleuva game."

    • haha

      Correct me if I'm wrong...oh wait you would...but really Tony...what is your point with this comment...the coach didn't write the get off of your grammar weren't don't know what was said.. probably the most ridiculous comment ever made...get a "real" life!

  • sugarbear12

    congrats to Huntington. Beng a Martinsburg fan and seeing you lose a heartbreaker in Wheeling, good to see some of the players able to enjoy a championship in basketball.


    Its a shame the game ended in a foul. Same thing happened in the Hurricane vs Hedgesville game but they didnt call the foul against Hedgesville and it was more of a foul than the one called against Hurricane last night. And for the Hedgesville fan to say they are the best. HOLD UP. Your coach screwed you all. Playing that slow offense. Man is that boring! When you pass the ball 20 times in a possesion your going to make a bad pass and thats why you lost the game.

    • Aaron S.

      The picture of the final play is at the top of the article. Look at it, tell me where both of the Hurricane players hands are and tell me how that's not a foul.

      It was a great game between 2 evenly matched teams and unfortunately for Hurricane, they came up one point short.

      Your program is in good hands as it appears the kids work for the coach. If they continue to work that way and the middle school follows suit, this program can really build on this weeks success.

  • ToddB

    That #11, for Huntington, the best guard in the state. If you don't enjoy the youth celebration, then don't watch. These youngmen worked hard to get to the top. Livre all them boys from H-Town. Get down and enjoy the victory.

    • WVUFE

      Best guard in the state??? Did you not watch any of the other teams at the state tournament. If you wanna watch the best guard in the state you better go watch Huntington Prep play!

  • Sandy

    So sad to see a gifted player like #11 for Huntington act like a child. Ruined the game for me with his attitude. Hopefully he'll watch the film and be ashamed. Probably not.

    • Aaron S.

      In his defense, there was a lot of trash talking going on throughout the game, from both sides. On 2 separate occasions, once while going to the bench and once on a tip out of bounds, #12 from Hurricane said something to #11 from Huntington. On the 2nd comment, officials stopped the game and talked to both kids.

      • haha

        I believe it was called... #11 spitting in his face..did you miss that...we always seem to miss what happens first..or choose to ignore it!

    • wvfan05

      He is a 16 year old child, don't be mad cause he was showing pride for his team to his student section. I don't here you complaining when number 10 (hurricane) was high stepping and waving his arms around like a squid when he hit a 3.

      • pride

        I don't see anything wrong with showing some emotion. They are high schoolers. But the little guard from Huntington was blatantly taunting a Hurricane player on the sideline late in the third quarter. It happened right in front of me. I was shocked he didn't get T'd up.

        • EPFAN

          The players from Huntington did an excellent job and player #11 was the best player on the court on Saturday March 22, 2014 for the AAA championship game. Players "talk trash" to each other throughout the course of the game - at every level. The young man was in the trenches and decided that he needed to use psychological warfare: "if I can get into your head an throw you off your game - what is so terrible about that?" I am a supporter of schools from another part of the state and was hoping one of our two schools would have won the championship - they did not. There is no reason to get better and spit venom at a student because he knows how to win. Please remember that the refs are the keepers of the rules in the game and they saw nothing wrong with his behavior - I remember seen players from the other team "talking trash" and engaging in antics when they made difficult shots and was leading the game for a time - what's different?

          • haha

            You said, "spit venom" were at the game..right? So you did see #11 spit in a players face with the ref standing there? Right? That my friend is not trash talking and knowing how to win... that is disgusting and should have been a technical in the least and possibly ejected..great players not only have skill but also character!! I have no stakes in the game either...but really? Coaches today just want to win..maybe they should work on discipline and character to make their players better people as well as are hilarious!

      • Sandy

        What a strange way to show pride! Bad case of little man's disease if you ask me!

        • Tshizzel

          That lil man scored 20 points on yalls ass though didn't he........Thats another dumbass statement.......... Can we get someone on here with some type of intelligence.......Wow!!!

  • Billie

    Send them up north to play Hedgesville with more than one day to prepare for the game and see how that will work out for you, That missed double dribble call on Hurricane, even the guys on the radio said how did he get away with that, towards the end of the Hedgesville -Hurricane game would have changed the whole game. Hurricane shouldn't even have won that game.

    • bballfanatic

      Really??? One day to prepare? How long did Hurricane have to prepare? Ummm...1 day!! So if they had longer to prepare they may have romped Hedgesville. You are hilarious..just keep making excuses if it makes your loss easier!

    • WVUFE

      Is passing the ball around for over a minute a possesion exciting basketball in Hedgesville cause if you ask me that was boring as sh--! You all had wide open looks on the post but wouldnt pass it under the basket cause the game plan was to slow down the game. Hedgesville beat themselves. Actually their coach beat them.

    • Aaron

      Is this the same Hedgesville team that lost to Washington in their sectional? And you're somehow going to claim they are the best team in the state? Seriously?

  • Aaron

    I would like to say I thoroughly enjoyed the call by Hoppy. It must have felt good to get back to your roots. Excellent job sir.

    And congratulations to Huntington on an exciting victory over the "team of the week." Hurricane and Coach Sutherland won a lot of fans.