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Vikings fall in double OT at Challenge Cup

CLUTCH: Senior guard Hank Pulver drained a pair of free throws with 1.7 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to tie Huntington North’s game against Henry Clay in the Challenge Cup at 46–46 and send the game to overtime. Huntington North would go on to lost the game 60–56 in double overtime.

by Eric Andrews - eandrews@h-ponline.com

The Huntington North boys basketball team lost a 60–56 double overtime thriller to Henry Clay in the Challenge Cup at the storied New Castle Fieldhouse in New Castle, Indiana, on Saturday night.

The defeat dropped the Vikings’ season record to 9–3 and snapped the team’s six-game win streak.

Huntington North came out of the gates firing, roaring out to a 7–0 lead to open the game, forcing a Henry Clay timeout.

The timeout clearly played to the Blue Devils’ favor, as Henry Clay would storm back with a 10–2 run of their own following the timeout to grab a 10–9 lead. The Vikings would stop the bleeding and score a basket late in the fourth quarter, re-establishing an 11–10 advantage following the game’s opening period.

The second quarter featured a much more tightly contest style of play, as neither team was able to open up a lead of any significance. When the first half ended, Henry Clay leapfrogged the Vikings to hold a 21–20 lead.

Huntington North responded well out of the break, starting the third quarter on a 6–0 streak to take a 26–21 advantage, but Henry Clay would push back and grab a lead late in the third quarter. The Vikings were not finished, though, as senior guard Zach Daugherty would hit a buzzer-beating shot to tie the score at 35–35 heading into the fourth quarter.

Henry Clay reclaimed a lead in the fourth quarter, at one point leading by four points with three minutes remaining in regulation time. However, Huntington North managed to stay in the game and fight their way back to a two-point deficit late in the period The Vikings would force a Henry Clay turnover to get the ball with a chance to tie the game with less than a minute to play.

The Blue Devils opted to kill some of the clock by fouling a few times to prevent Huntington North from getting their offense set up. However, with the last seconds ticking off the clock, senior forward Hank Pulver decided to take matters into his own hands, powering his way to the hoop and drawing a foul on his shot attempt, resulting in a pair of free throws.

Pulver sank the first attempt to bring Huntington North within one point at 46–45. Henry Clay then called a timeout with the hopes of getting inside Pulver’s head to continue mounting the pressure on the 6-foot-4, Huntington University commit. With 1.7 seconds left on the clock, Pulver stepped up to the charity stripe with a chance to complete the Viking comeback. Pulver did just that, as his shot found nothing but net, tying the score at 46–46.

Henry Clay’s last-second shot fell short, sending the game to overtime.

With both sides hesitant to transition to an open style of play, neither offense could get in any notable rhythm, resulting in a 4–4 deadlock in the period to send the game to a second overtime period with the score standing at 50–50.

Daugherty would serve as the Vikings’ go-to weapon in the second overtime frame, as he drained a three-pointer to give Huntington North a 54–52 lead with about two minutes to play and then buried a basket with 1:11 remaining, giving the Vikings a 56–54 lead.

However, Henry Clay would respond with a basket from Marques Warrick, giving the Blue Devils a 57–56 advantage with 49 seconds remaining. Though Huntington North valiantly tried to do whatever they could to get a chance to respond, Henry Clay shut them down. The Blue Devils would take advantage of free throws as time wound down and ultimately came away with the 60–56 double overtime victory.

“That’s the most disappointed I’ve ever walked into the locker room and seen our kids,” said head coach Craig Teagle. “I know it was a big deal to them. They knew they were representing their state, their community, their team, their program, so they wanted to win that badly. But we ran into a really good basketball team.”

Daugherty led the way for Huntington North, tallying a team-best 21 points for the Vikings. Daugherty also recorded three rebounds and two assists, while snagging two steals.

Pulver finished closely behind Daugherty, scoring 18 points of his own to go along with six rebounds. Pulver registered team-highs of five assists and one block and tied Daugherty for the team lead with a pair of steals.

Senior forward Sawyer Stoltz sank five points, adding six rebounds to tie Pulver for the team lead. Senior guards Keegan Bartrom and Trey Williams each converted on a three-point attempt in the game to finish with three points apiece, while senior guard Brett Kaylor, junior forward Jordan Hollowell and junior guard Deven Newcomb each drained a pair of points for the Vikings. Newcomb added four rebounds and four assists to round out his night.

“I thought offensively we got a little stagnant sometimes and relied on Hank way too much, or Zach, and we need to get other people involved,” Teagle said. “We did some nice things, they’re a really good team and we may have fatigued a little bit at the end, but I’m proud of the kids.”

Warrick proved to be the star of the night, leading all players in the game with 22 points. Warrick also tallied four rebounds, four assists, one block and three steals for the Blue Devils.

Harris Hawkins also had a big night for Henry Clay, finishing with 13 points while hauling in a game-high 14 rebounds and swiping a trio of steals to tie Warrick for the game lead.

“(Warrick) is going to be a Division I player probably and there (were) things that he did that we just couldn’t stop, we didn’t have an answer for,” Teagle said. “But, I thought we were pretty tough and gritty for the most part tonight. … (We) have gotten a lot better. (We are) much better than (we) were five games ago. So, if we continue on this track, then we can have a nice season.”

Despite the Viking loss, Indiana still won the Challenge Cup thanks to victories by the Northwestern girls team and Heritage Hills and Silver Creek boys teams, earning a 3–2 edge for the state’s first Challenge Cup title.

Huntington North will return to the court on Jan. 8, hosting Concordia. Opening tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in North Arena.

Henry Clay 60, Huntington North 56

Henry Clay (60)

Marques Warrick 7–19, 5–8, 22; Harris Hawkins 5–7, 3–4, 13; Keaston Brown 4–12, 1–2, 9; Mayan White 3–5, 0–0, 8; Scott Hersey 2–2, 0–0, 6; Marquis Mackey 0–2, 2–2, 2; Dorien Hardin 0–0, 0–0, 0; Totals 21–47, 11–16, 60.

Huntington North (56)

Zach Daugherty 7–11, 2–2, 21; Hank Pulver 8–17, 2–2, 18; Sawyer Stoltz 2–6, 1–2, 5; Keegan Bartrom 1–1, 0–0, 3; Trey Williams 1–5, 0–1, 3; Deven Newcomb 1–5, 0–1, 2; Brett Kaylor 1–2, 0–0, 2; Jordan Hollowell 1–1, 0–0, 2; Totals 22–48, 5–8, 56.

HC 10 11 14 11 4 10 ­— 60

HN 11 9 15 11 4 6 — 56

Three-point goals: Henry Clay 7–17 (Marques Warrick 3–6; Scott Hersey 2–2; Mayan White 2–4; Keaston Brown 0–4; Harris Hawkins 0–1), Huntington North 7–20 (Zach Daugherty 5–7; Keegan Bartrom 1–1; Trey Williams 1–4; Deven Newcomb 0–3; Hank Pulver 0–3; Brett Kaylor 0–1; Sawyer Stoltz 0–1). Fouled out: Henry Clay Keaston Brown, Huntington North: None. Rebounds: Henry Clay 25 (Harris Hawkins 14), Huntington North 28 (Hank Pulver 6; Sawyer Stoltz 6). Assists: Henry Clay 11 (Keaston Brown 4; Marques Warrick 4), Huntington North 13 (Deven Newcomb 5; Hank Pulver 5). Total Fouls: Henry Clay 12, Huntington North 11.