Cardinal zone stymies Huckabay shooters as Lingleville claims lead in 18-A
By BRAD KEITH
HUCKABAY (January 30, 2015) — A Huckabay fan may have summed up it up best.
Despite hurting for his son and the Indians following Lingleville’s 46-39 upset win at HHS Friday night, Shane Stegall said, “Bart VanKranenburg was here tonight, that’s for sure. I bet he’s smiling real big, too. I’m happy for Lingleville.”
VanKranenburg’s influence seemed to be everywhere Friday night, from Bart’s little brother, Tom, wearing Bart’s No. 35 jersey, to a first-class example of sportsmanship by Huckabay players and fans who joined the Lingleville faithful in packing the HHS gymnasium with hoop lovers adorned in the popular #BVK35lovealways T-shirts.
Huckabay players wore ribbons with the number 35 on them. So did Huckabay head coach Bryan Blackwell.
“What a tremendous show of respect and sportsmanship. Everyone in the surrounding area has rallied around us, especially Huckabay and Lipan, our two biggest rivals,” said Lingleville head coach Kade Eckert. “Those are the kind of rivalries you want – the kind that are friendly but still produce some of the best basketball around.”
It wasn’t as if the rivalry needed any more fuel on its fire. The teams were playing for first-place in District 18-A, after all, with both entering the game unbeaten in district play.
But there was an added electricity to the atmosphere Friday. And their was also an added defensive intensity among the Cardinals.
Lingleville played a tough 1-2-2 zone defense and Huckabay never shot the Cardinals out of it. That and a fast start had Lingleville playing from ahead the whole way, and with the Indians struggling to hit shots, the Cardinals were never seriously threatened down the stretch.
“We’ve messed with some different defenses this year, and that one is really our staple,” said Eckert. “We did a good job in it tonight. They didn’t hit shots, and I would like to think that’s a credit to our defense because they have some great shooters. Cold night shooting for them, great night defensively for us.”
Tim Griffin was 8-8 from the foul stripe including 6-6 in the fourth quarter, when he scored eight of his team-leading 14 points for the Cardinals. He was 4-4 from the stripe in the final minute to seal the victory.
Gavin Fuentes led all scorers with 15 for Huckabay, but like the rest of the Indians, he struggled from the floor. Huckabay, which routinely hits numerous 3-pointers, didn’t knock down a single shot from the arc all night.
Lingleville jumped ahead 20-9 early on, before Huckabay’s most serious charge of the night cut it to 20-17. The Cardinals restored their momentum with the final four points of the second and led 24-17 at intermission.
That run carried over into the second half, and ultimately decided the game. Lingleville scored the first five points in the third, pushing its lead to 29-17. They were ahead by at least six the rest of the way.
It was 34-24 before Fuentes drove for an ‘and-1’ plus the free throw to make it a seven-point margin with 7:09 still to play. He also had a put back to make cut it to 37-31 with 4:28 left.
Brady Sult grabbed an offensive rebound and cashed it in for a 39-31 Linglville lead with 3:33 remaining, and Griffin’s free-throw barrage began 23 seconds later to restore the double-digit lead.
Huckabay scored consecutive baskets to make it 41-35, but Griffin answered with four straight from the strip to make it 45-35 with 35 seconds left.
“This group of guys is different; they just have something about them,” said Eckert. “I don’t know if it’s the proverbial ‘it,’ but they’ve got something. One thing they have for sure is guts. Huckabay has good senior leaders in Cade Little and Gavin Fuentes, they’re well coached and they just know how to play. To come here in a rivalry game and get this win against a great team like that – that takes guts.”
Lingleville didn’t exactly shoot the lights out. In fact, the Cardinals hit only two 3-point shots of their own. Colbe Stoker had one and scored nine points. Tom VanKranenburg had the other – part of the key early run – and finished with seven. Jarod Hagood added six, Bailey Fenn four, Meine Huisman three and Brady Sult two.
For Huckabay, Cade Little scored nine, Ky Bray seven, JW Weiss six and Levi Dowell two.
Lady Indians hold off Lingleville’s late charge for third straight win
Huckabay (18-7, 5-2) built a big lead then held off Lingleville’s late charge to win the girls contest, 44-36.
The Lady Indians, winners of three straight, were ahead 35-17 before the Lady Cardinals poured in 12 straight to cut their deficit to just six early in the fourth.
That’s when Presli Bray hit the shot that turned the tide – a 3-pointer to make it 48-39 with 4:40 left.
Lingleville did not go down quietly, with a fast break pass from Marley Wood leading to a Sandra Nava layup and a 39-33 deficit with 3:46 to go.
But Leann Green answered with consecutive buckets in the paint to make it 43-33 with 1:28 left, after which even an old-fashioned 3-point play by Nava to pull Lingleville within seven wasn’t enough.
Makayla Metsgar was white hot from the arc, hitting four 3-pointers in the second quarter to lead Huckabay to a 25-12 advantage at halftime. Metsgar hit a fifth 3-pointer in the third and led all scorers with 17. Bray scored 12 and Green 10 for the Lady Indians. Taylor Lowe added five.
Nava led Lingleville with 16 including nine in the fourth. Wood was right on her heels with 15. Larryssa Pierson and Xequoia Hallmark added two each and Jordan Schievink had one.
Notes: Huckabay’s teams visit Strawn Tuesday, while Lingleville hosts Lipan for Parent’s Night…Huckabay’s girls completed a season sweep of Lingleville…The boys clubs meet again on February 17 in Lingleville.