South Harrison holds off Lincoln’s late rally to win 54-51
SHINNSTON, W.Virginia — Despite being outscored by 10 points in the last 4+ minutes of the game, South Harrison prevailed with a 54-51 win at Lincoln in a Monday matinee boys basketball matchup.
“It’s all about adversity. We want to be in games in places where we’re tested in a way we weren’t tested last year,” Hawks head coach Tom Sears said. “If you look at last year’s schedule, it was February 14 against Webster County before we had our first Test and the next Test was the LKC Night of Champions. We knew we wouldn’t be able to do that this year. It’s all about adversity and they persevere.”
The Hawks only led by double digits three times, and each time in the fourth quarter.
The first came on an Austin Peck 3-pointer, which scored the opening points of the fourth and increased South Harrison’s (9-1) lead to 42-32. After Brayden Edgell responded with a layup for Lincoln (6-6), the Hawks got a bucket from close-range Noah Burnside and Corey Boulden’s 3-pointer to take a 47-34 lead — the widest lead for either team – with 5:05 remaining.
“When we finally started to retire,” Sears said, “we didn’t finish very well.”
Rather than walk away calmly, the Cougars responded with two free throws from Jayce Brooks and an Aidan Rice basket in the post to bring their deficit back under 10 with 3:35 left.
South Harrison’s lead was still nine after Seth Klima’s layup, but Lincoln quickly countered with a Max Sears triple, leaving 49-43 behind.
The Hawks still appeared to have a comfortable lead after Boulden took two free throws with 37 seconds left for a 53-45 lead, but David Purdette used a 3 to make it a five-point game at 23- to mark the seconds. After Peck missed the front end of a 1-and-1, Edgell drove most of the court and scored inside what became a conventional three-pointer play, giving Lincoln 10.6 seconds to go with 53- 51 behind.
“We kept coming at them and there were opportunities where we could have resigned and probably been beaten by double figures, but we didn’t,” said Cougars head coach Jordan Toth. “We just kept attacking and did a good job on the edge. We kept playing.”
Burnside then made the first of two free throws with 9.8 seconds remaining, and although Sears rebounded the miss, Lincoln never got a shot in time, with Rice’s attempt at the tie coming just after time and missing the target anyway.
“I called up a play and two or three guys didn’t hear me and two or three of them didn’t,” Toth said. “The easiest thing is to drive it there and kick it, but I’ve tried to get them into a standard game. I take responsibility for that. It was my fault we didn’t get at least one try. Just something we need to do a little bit better by communicating and executing on the floor.”
The game was tied through a quarter at 11 and was still tied at 18 after a Sears layup.
Burnside broke the tie with a treble 2-01 before halftime, which started his personal 7-0 run to end the half that allowed the Hawks to lead 25-18 at the break.
“The last three minutes of the second quarter really hurt us,” said Toth. “We had some unusual things offensively. We had a few turnovers and they got some tires from it.”
Burnside, who led all players with 27 points, scored 13 in the first half and was responsible for half of his team’s 10 field goals.
He picked up where he left off in the third quarter. Burnside connected with a three-pointer that allowed the Hawks to double the 31-28 lead and was responsible for a conventional three-pointer play at 1-19 in the frame that took SHHS to nine before the Hawks decided for a 39-32 advantage through three quarters.
Burnside made 9 of 15 shots and three from long range while adding six rebounds.
“Noah had a great game,” Sears said. “It was one of the better games of his career. I actually said to my coaches when we came out of the dressing room before the game started, ‘Noah’s going to have a big game.’ He didn’t have a great attacking game [Friday at Wheeling Central in a one-point loss]. He was supposed to come back and he did it in a big way.”
Boulden contributed 11 points and eight boards in the win while Peck scored eight and Klimas contributed five points and seven rebounds.
Eight of the Hawks’ 11 turnovers came after halftime.
“I told them I wished we had done better,” Sears said. “They came out in that diamond-and-1 and we prepared for that but we struggled to get into an offensive flow. I don’t think we were remarkable on defense either. We’ve flipped it too many times and it all adds up.”
Edgell scored his team’s first eight points and a team-high 21 in 8-of-12 shooting in the loss.
Brooks added 10 points and four assists while Sears snapped seven boards as team best.
The Cougars turned it over seven times in each half.