Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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February 5, 2014

Honaker sweeps in Crooked Road

BIRCHLEAF, Va. — There is now one team alone atop the Crooked Road Conference boys basketball standings.

Honaker moved a step closer to the conference regular season title and automatic berth to the regional playoffs, escaping Haysi (11-6, 7-2) with a 67-62 road win in the battle of Tigers.

“This was just a crazy game until the end,” Honaker wing Hunter Lester said. “This is a good team win.”

Haysi had a strong push to go up 44-36 after a couple of buckets by Travis Conway with 1:21 left to play in the third quarter. But Casey Dye hit a free throw for Honaker, Casey Harman added a layup and Caleb Sample sank two fouls shots to pull Honaker within three.

It looked like Hunter Sutherland had stole the show, beating two defenders with a drive to the bucket for a layup as Haysi took a 46-41 lead with six seconds left in the third.

Honaker worked the ball up the floor quickly and Lester hit a 3-pointer from the left wing to cut the Haysi lead down to 46-44 entering the final frame.

“I think the 3 by Lester was huge,” Honaker coach Marcus Dunham said. “It ruined their momentum and gave us the momentum going forward. Lester hit some huge shots for us and played with a lot of confidence.”

Haysi scored their first three possessions in the fourth quarter, but Honaker still took the lead. Harman scored inside on the block and Sample canned a 3. Then Lester hit back-to-back 3s to put Honaker up 55-52. They never trailed again.

“The ball was just feeling good in my hands,” Lester said. “Coach (Dunham) just told me to keep shooting with confidence. I just let it fly and it kept falling in.”

Lester wasn’t the only one making shots. Honaker was 8-of-10 from the floor the final eight minutes making 80 percent of their shots. Haysi made 36 percent of their shots in the fourth quarter.

“This is the type of game you get whenever these two teams play,” said Haysi coach David Robinette. “I thought both teams played well. We just had a little bit of a brain freeze in the fourth quarter. They made some shots when it counted.”

The Honaker win didn’t diminish an unbelievable performance by Sutherland. He poured in a game-high 37 points, with six 3-pointers.

It’s hard to say someone played well against Sutherland defensively, but Sample held him to nine points in the fourth and he had to work hard for each of those.

“Sample played some outstanding defense,” Dunham said. “You can’t stop Sutherland, but we did a little bit better job of containing him late in the game.”

Lester and Dye finished with 15 points each to lead Honaker. Tyler Hale (11 points) and Harman (10) points were also in double figures.

The CRC regular season race isn’t over yet. Honaker (14-5, 9-1) plays another conference contest at Northwood tonight. Then they finish up the conference schedule with Hurley on Feb. 14.

“We have to forget about this game, we can’t slip up,” commented Dunham. “We have to finish the season strong.”


At Birchleaf


Hale 4 1-2 11, Dye 4 7-11 15, Coleman 1 2-4 4, Horton 2 1-5 5, Lester 4 3-4 15, Sample 2 2-3 7, Ray 0 0-0 0, Harman 5 0-0 10, Mullins 0 0-0 0, Smith 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 16-29 67.


Sutherland 12 7-9 37, Conway 2 0-0 4, Ratliff 2 0-0 4, Howell 3 0-0 7, Hill 2 3-4 7, Hillman 0 0-0 0, Shreve 0 1-2 1, Rose 1 0-1 2. Totals 22 11-16 62.

Honaker..........................20    9    15   23 — 67

Haysi...............................19   13   14   16 — 62

3-point goals – Honaker 7 (Sample 1, Hale 2, Lester 4), Haysi 7 (Sutherland 6, Howell 1). Total fouls – Honaker 20, Haysi 21. Fouled out – Ratliff, Howell.

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