By ANTHONY STEVENS
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
HONAKER, Va. —
The season came to a quick halt for the Tigers. Virginia High (12-13) went to A.P. Baldwin Gymnasium and halted a 13-game Tigers winning streak. In a thriller Virginia High ended Honaker's season with a 64-61 victory before a huge crowd.
Give Honaker (21-3) a lot of credit. They fought back the entire game. After a free throw by Toure Fudge the Bearcats held a 60-57 advantage with just over three minutes to play. After a couple of misses by each team, Casey Dye drove to the basket for a layup pulling the Tigers within one.
The next possession the Bearcats had a couple of shots but couldn't get either to fall. Payton Ball drove inside for the Tigers and missed a shot but 6-foot-6 freshman Tanner Robinette grabbed the rebound for a putback to put Honaker up 61-60.
The Tigers wouldn't score again as the Virginia High defense stepped up. Honaker missed a free throw and two field goal attempts down the stretch. Bossard drove inside and dropped in a floater in the lane with 40 seconds left to give the Bearcats the lead.
Bossard then made two free throws with three seconds remaining to put the game away.
Bossard totaled 14 points, 11 rebounds and five assists. Nick Howard led the Bearcats with 18 points. Fudge finished with 11 points. Point guard Derrick Lee had nine points and six assists.
"Our kids played extremely hard tonight and Honaker's kids played extremely hard tonight," said Virginia High coach Wayne Rasnick. "There's no question about it both teams left it all out there on the floor. This was just a great ballgame and its a sad thing that someone has to pack it in for the year."
It looked like the game might be over with quick. The Bearcats used their blazing speed and hot shooting to come out of the gate quickly. The Bearcats opened the game on a 10-2 run and held a 24-12 lead at the end of the first quarter. They were 11-of-15 from the floor in the first quarter, making 73 percent of their shots.
Payton Ball brought the Tigers back. Honaker went on a 12-2 run with Ball scoring seven of those points to get Honaker back in the game. It was close from that point.
"We just dug ourselves too big of a hole early and it was hard to keep coming back," said Honaker coach Marcus Dunham. "They came out more intense and aggressive and kind of punched us in the mouth and set us back. But on the bright side, these kids kept battling back and chipping away."
The loss took nothing away from an outstanding performance by Ball who scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Robinette was dominating for the Tigers with 12 points, 18 rebounds and nine blocked shots.
Virginia High has now won four of their last five games. They will face Clinch Mountain District rival Lebanon in the semifinals at Castlewood High School on Friday with a trip to the state quarterfinals on the line.
"Lebanon is a good team, they beat us once this year and we got them twice," said Bossard. "We're not looking at prior games, those mean nothing this is the region and a new season. We just have to play our best, that's the only thing on our mind right now."
VIRGINIA HIGH (64)
Obuckwe 3 0-0 6, Lee 4 0-1 9, Howard 8 1-2 18, Bossard 6 2-2 14, Fudge 5 1-2 11, Long 0 0-0 0, Clisby 3 0-1 6. Totals 29 4-8 64.
Dye 2 0-1 4, Ray 0 0-0 0, Hall 1 1-2 4, Ball 6 6-8 18, Robinette 6 0-1 12, Hale 6 0-2 14, Lester 4 0-0 9. Totals 25 7-14 61.
Virginia High.........24 9 16 15 — 64
Honaker................12 19 15 15 — 61
3-point goals –Va. High 2 (Lee 1, Howard 1), Honaker 4 (Hale 2, Hall 1, Lester 1). Total fouls –Va. High 15, Honaker15. Fouled out - Clisby, Hall. Technicals – none.