BRISTOL, Va. —
The defending Group A, Division 2 state champion Radford displayed outstanding quickness and speed Friday in defeating Honaker 75-44 at the Bearcat Den in the Region 1A-West boys semifinals.
The Bobcats advanced to the 1A state final four, while Honaker’s season ended with an 18-8 record.
Radford (24-2) has nine players back from last year's state championship team and the experience showed. They used a suffocating defense that resulted in 24 Tigers’ miscues.
"There is not much you can do," said Honaker coach Marcus Dunham. "You can tell the kids it's coming (speed) but it's hard to defend. They just matched us step for step. We set some good screens and tried to get some cuts, but they are so quick we couldn't do much with them."
Honaker did stay with the Bobcats in the first quarter. The Tigers fell back in their aggressive 2-3 zone and kept Radford off-balance. The score was tied 10-10 until Marcus Finley hit an NBA-range 3-pointer just before the buzzer to give the Bobcats a 13-10 lead at the end of the first quarter.
"We just couldn't get going," Radford coach Rick Cormany said. "A lot of that was because Honaker defends well. In that zone they are really scrappy, they get to the shooter, so it's hard to get an uncontested shot.
“They also make it tough for you to go inside. If we hadn't had some transition buckets we might have been in trouble for a longer period of time. I was getting a little anxious about our difficulty scoring the basketball."
The Radford defense began creating turnovers and that resulted in some easy baskets. The Bobcats outscored Honaker 24-9 in the second period to take control of the game. They led 37-19 at halftime.
"Thank goodness our athleticism got us into transition," stated Cormany. "We spread them out a little and tried to get some easy shots."
The Tigers couldn't make a run in the second half. Radford started the third quarter on a 17-4 run and that was the game.
Honaker was 13-of-41, only making 32 percent of their shots in the game. Another huge key in the game, Radford scored 32 points off Honaker turnovers.
"We needed to be strong and take care of the ball," Dunham said. "We got sloppy after the first quarter and were weak with the basketball. They capitalized on every turnover we had and it snowballed from there."
It was an outstanding and somewhat surprising season for the Tigers. They graduated two starters and had another transfer. They only had two seniors on the squad this year, starters Tyler Hale and Randy Horton.
Casey Dye was the only double figure scorer for Honaker with 10 points. Horton led the Tigers with six rebounds and Hale added three steals.
Finley (14 points), Krisdon Phillips (12 points) and Anthony Miano (11 points) were offensive leaders for the Bobcats.
Radford's only two losses this season have come to William Fleming and Carroll County. They defeated George Wythe 69-34 to advance to the matchup with Honaker.
The Bobcats will play Galax a 50-46 winner over Eastside for the Region 1A-West championship today. Both teams advance to the state 1A semifinals.
at the Bearcat Den
Finley 6 0-0 14, Jordan 2 0-1 4, Phillips 5 2-5 12, Jones 2 4-6 8, Bradley 1 1-1 3, Cook 0 3-4 3, Morton 1 3-4 5, Miano 4 1-1 11, Conner 1 3-4 5, Facemire 2 0-0 4, Armentrout 0 0-0 0, Morris 0 0-0 0, Wheeler 2 0-0 4, Dangerfield 1 0-1 2. Totals 27 17-27 75.
Hale 2 4-6 8, Dye 3 4-6 10, Horton 3 1-2 7, Lester 0 2-2 2, Harman 2 0-0 4, Sample 0 0-0 0, Ray 0 2-2 2, Coleman 0 1-2 1, Hutchinson 2 1-2 7, Mullins 1 1-1 3, Smith 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 16-23 44.
Radford.......13 24 26 12 — 75
Honaker......10 9 11 14 — 44
3-point goals - Radford 4 (Miano 2, Finley 2), Honaker 2 (Hutchinson 2). Total fouls - Radford 18, Honaker 20. Fouled out - none. Technicals - none.