- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Every time the Huntingtown and La Plata boys basketball teams meet it is a war.
On Tuesday night in a Class 3A South first-round contest Huntingtown and La Plata battled all the way to the end.
Trailing by just one point after three quarters, ninth-seeded La Plata took a two-point lead on a deep three-pointer from Nick Pitcher 14 seconds into the fourth.
Pitcher then nailed another three to put the Warriors up 39-35, but Huntingtown answered with an 8-0 run to go up by four points with 1 minute 25 seconds left.
With 39.4 seconds left, Pitcher hit his third three of the fourth to bring the Warriors to within one point, making the score 43-42.
On the ensuing possession, Huntingtown’s Mitchell Plater was fouled and hit two free throws to push the lead back to three.
La Plata then had two chances to tie the game, as Pitcher missed a three-point attempt with 15 ticks left and Kory Anding missed a three-pointer at the buzzer that would have tied the game.
The eighth-seeded Hurricanes would hold on to the 45-42 victory and advanced to take on top-seeded Potomac of Prince George’s County on Thursday night, a game that finished too late for inclusion into this edition.
Huntingtown improved to 10-13 on the season before Thursday night’s contest. A victory would put the Hurricanes into the region semifinals on Tuesday at fifth-seeded Crossland or fourth-seeded Friendly, both of Prince George’s County.
“We have to compete against Potomac,” Huntingtown head coach Vashawne Gross said following Tuesday’s contest. “La Plata outworked us tonight and we were lucky to come away with the win tonight.”
Junior guard Trey Hawkins was a big part to the Hurricanes coming away with the win, as he finished with a team-high 17 points, while senior guard Marcus Sims contributed with 11 points.
“Winning ugly like this has been something that we’ve done this season, but sometimes that’s what you have to do,” said Hawkins, who had seven points in the fourth. “We played hard and made some key baskets in the fourth. We want revenge on Potomac, they beat us in the first round last year.”
“Trey did a good job tonight, he’s been logging in a lot of minutes for us,” Gross added.
La Plata (9-12) was without senior guard Ronnie Harmon, who broke his hand in the final regular season game, a 84-68 loss versus McDonough two weeks ago.
“Obviously not having Ronnie impacted us because he gives us big scoring,” La Plata head coach James Douglas said, “but we knew we were in a dogfight and we had some guys step up tonight. We just didn’t have enough in the end to pull it out.”
Leading the visiting Warriors on the night was Pitcher, who finished with a game-high 19 points, while Jordan Alston scored all nine of his points in the first half.
“I didn’t even think about it, I just shot it,” Pitcher said. “We were angry when Huntingtown started to hold the ball in the third quarter.”
“I had to take over in the first half, and in the second half when the defense pushed up on me, I kicked it out to Nick, he’s our shooter,” Alston added. “It hurts to lose by [three points], but overall we had a real good season. Everyone played hard.”
Huntingtown held the ball for the first four minutes of the third period with La Plata in a 2-3 zone defense. The Hurricanes only scored three points in the third quarter, while La Plata scored six.
“We wanted to dictate the tempo by holding the ball and make them go man,” Gross said. “We had some turnovers during that span and we didn’t execute. But we did some good things tonight that helped us.”
Huntingtown jumped out to a 15-6 lead in the first five minutes and led 19-11 after the first quarter. It took a 27-19 advantage with 3:57 left in the second quarter, but the Warriors responded with an 8-2 run.
The Hurricanes went on to take the 31-27 halftime lead.
“Huntingtown’s big men played hard and they were just at the right place at the right time,” Douglas said.