Hurricane edges Big Blacks, 60-59

Bryan Walters

January 10, 2014

POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — A bitter pill to swallow.

Henry Sorsaia netted the go-ahead basket with 3.6 seconds remaining, allowing visiting Hurricane to rally back from a 15-point first half deficit Thursday night en route to a 60-59 decision over the Point Pleasant boys basketball team in a non-conference matchup in Mason County.

The host Big Blacks (4-4) stormed out to an early 21-6 lead 20 seconds into the second quarter, but the Redskins (5-1) forced 11 of Point’s 16 turnovers the rest of the way and made 6-of-7 shots to start the second canto — allowing HHS to close its deficit down to 32-25 at the intermission.

Hurricane — which trailed 19-9 after eight minutes of play — outscored PPHS 37-22 over the middle frames, and Alexander Estep closed that surge with a trifecta eight seconds before the end of the quarter. That basket gave the guests their first lead since early in the first quarter at 43-41 headed into the finale.

There were eight lead changes and five ties in the fourth quarter, and Wade Martin gave Point Pleasant a 59-58 advantage after an offensive rebound and putback with 8.5 seconds left in regulation.

Following a timeout, the ball was inbounded to Sorsaia — who dribbled the length of the floor and converted a contested layup with less than four seconds remaining.

PPHS immediately inbounded the ball to Wade Martin, who chucked a three-quarters court heave toward the basket before the buzzer sounded. The shot ultimately went wide of the goal and hit the backboard as time expired, allowing Hurricane to escape with its third consecutive victory.

The Big Blacks went without a turnover in the fourth stanza, but their previous 16 mistakes ultimately played a huge role in the final outcome of the game.

It was a disappointing topic to discuss afterwards, but second-year PPHS coach Josh Williams acknowledged that reality nonetheless.

“We knew this would be a tough game against a top-notch program and that we would have to play well for 32 minutes against their pressure,” Williams said. “We attacked that pressure early on and had some success, but they kept applying pressure and got us to be a bit too passive. We needed to take care of the ball and we didn’t do that. Turnovers did us in in the end.

“We played hard and played tough and played well enough at times to win this game, but we just didn’t play smart enough down the stretch to get this win. We’ll just have to use this as a learning experience and get better for the rest of the season.”

The Big Blacks trailed 3-0 and 5-3 less than two minutes into regulation, but followed with a 16-1 surge over the final 5:38 of the opening period — giving the hosts a 13-point edge after eight minutes of play. Hurricane also committed seven of its 14 turnovers in the first period.

Aden Yates hit two free throws at the 7:40 mark of the second, giving Point its largest lead of the night at 21-6. HHS countered with five straight points to close to within 10 with 6:23 remaining, then closed the half with a 14-11 run for a 32-25 halftime deficit.

PPHS made 13-of-27 shot attempts in the first half while also outrebounding the guests by a sizable 15-6 overall margin. Hurricane sank 10-of-19 shots and had nine turnovers before the break, compared to 10 by the hosts.

Both teams traded trifectas to start the third period, and Yates made a basket at the 5:01 mark — giving Point its largest lead of the second half at 37-28. The Redskins retaliated with a 15-4 charge over the final five minutes, giving the guests a slim 43-41 lead headed into the final eight minutes of regulation.

There were a total of 12 lead changes and seven ties in the game, and Point Pleasant claimed a 33-21 overall edge in total rebounds — including a 14-6 advantage on the offensive glass. PPHS also had its two-game winning streak snapped in the process.

The Big Blacks connected on 23-of-54 field goal attempts for 43 percent, including a 6-of-21 effort from three-point range for 29 percent. The hosts were also 7-of-13 at the free throw line for 54 percent.

Wade Martin led Point Pleasant with 17 points, followed by Aden Yates with 12 markers. Nick Templeton and Alex Somerville were next with 11 points apiece, while Garrett Norris chipped in five markers. Evan Potter and Brian Gibbs rounded out the respective scoring with two points and one marker.

The Redskins sank 23-of-46 shot attempts for 50 percent, including a 4-of-10 effort from behind the arc for 40 percent. HHS was also 10-of-18 at the charity stripe for 56 percent.

Henry Sorsaia paced the guests with a game-high 25 points, followed by John Dawson with 15 points and Alexander Estep with 10 markers.