CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Huntington’s second-half effort pushed the Highlanders to a 65-48 win over No. 6 Musselman during Thursday’s boys basketball state tournament quarterfinals.
Mikal Dawson scored 29 points to lead the No. 3 Highlanders (20-5) in the win, while John Dawson added 15 points and Grant Subik scored 14 points.
“Mikal played great tonight – he was 13 for 18 shooting the basketball and he took good shots,” said Huntington coach Ron Hess. “Grant and John really came on in the second half. We knew we were going to have to make some shots and they started hitting some shots to get us a nice lead in the second half.”
Huntington used a 7-0 run to close the second quarter for a 22-19 lead at the half. After a 12-2 advantage to start the third, Huntington built a 13-point, 34-21 lead.
“We were a little anxious tonight and we wanted to do things too quickly,” Hess said. “Once we settled down into our offense and let the game come to us, we played a lot better.
“We had a nice lead early on, Mikal got in foul trouble and we had to take him out of the game,” Hess said. “It seemed like we kind of slowed down at that point.”
Cam Stephens scored 18 points to lead Musselman (21-5) in the loss, while Michael Bratton added 11 points.
“We had a heck of a season this year, unfortunately tonight wasn’t our night. We didn’t play very well,” said Musselman coach Derek Basile. “We didn’t shoot it well. We just didn’t get the breaks.
“But I was proud of our guys,” he continued. “They had a heck of a season, they played hard all the way through tonight – even when they didn’t get the breaks. The ball just didn’t bounce our way. Defensively in the first half we were really good, but you have to credit Huntington in the second half – they made some shots.”
Musselman went just 17 for 57 from the floor for 30 percent, while Huntington hit 26 of 59 shots. After going just 24 percent from the floor in the first quarter and 31 percent in the second, the Highlanders shot over 60 percent in both the third and fourth quarters.
Huntington will face No. 2 University on Friday night at 9 p.m. for a spot in the Class AAA title game. The Highlanders gave University one of its two losses on the regular season, back in February 58-53.
“They’re a very good basketball team,” Hess said. “They took off on us (in the first matchup) and then we went to a 2-3 and it slowed them down, because it’s hard to shoot here sometimes. They’ve gone with basically four guards and a big-man.”