CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Huntington won its third Class AAA boys basketball title in four years on Saturday, beating top seed Capital 50-42.
“I definitely couldn’t be more proud of this team than what I am tonight,” said Huntington coach Ron Hess. “Congratulations to Capital – they really had a great season. I thought our 2-3 really gave them a lot of trouble tonight.
“We wanted to make sure everybody stayed inside the 3-point line and if they were going to beat us tonight, they were going to have to beat us by shooting the ball outside,” Hess continued. “If they made 3s and beat us, then they beat us. We didn’t want them to get into the lane and get a lot of easy shots against us.”
Mikal Dawson scored 25 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, blocked four shots and collected four steals to lead the Highlanders (22-5). Dawson finished Class AAA tournament play with 80 total points scored, putting up 26.7 points per contest. He also averaged eight rebounds per game as well.
“Mikal is definitely one of the best players in the state, if not the best player,” Hess said. “We tell him when he’s on the floor, he’s the best player on the floor. He can take over games and I think he knows that. When (Capital) made a little run, I told him to just get the ball and take it to the basket – he did that.”
John Dawson added 15 points in the win, while Jadon Hayes finished with nine rebounds, six assists, a blocked shot and eight steals for the Highlanders as well.
After a 6-6 opening quarter, Capital took a one-point, 19-18 lead into the break.
The Highlanders used a 15-7 third quarter to take a 33-26 advantage into the fourth. Five straight points from Mikal Dawson extended Huntington’s lead out to 40-29 with 5:52 remaining.
Capital (23-5) was led by Leondre Rogers who scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the loss.
“Huntington did a great job this evening with their game plan and executed it – e just couldn’t get going offensively or defensively,” said Capital coach Matt Greene. “We couldn’t hit any shots and the game was just real choppy. It was like we were running in mud all night. I do want to commend my guys with how proud I am of them, what a great group they were.”
Huntington shot just 37 percent from the floor, but held Capital to 27 percent shooting. The Highlanders also scored 18 points off of 21 forced turnovers and only turned the ball over eight times, themselves.
Mikal Dawson and John Dawson both made the all-tournament team, along with teammate Grant Subik. Capital’s Rogers and Anthony Pittman made the list from Capital. Also on the all-tournament team were Morgantown’s Torin Hanson and Nicky Solomon, and University’s Kaden Metheny.