Huntington's depth surfaces in win

Huntington's depth surfaces in win


Huntington's depth surfaces in win



If basketball fans had an inkling that Huntington might struggle without senior center Branden Sheppard, the Raiders proved that theory wrong Friday.

Sheppard played about a quarter because of foul trouble, but the Raiders rallied around their depth to win 75-65 at Minden.

Johnny Woodard (18 points) and Riley Anderson (16 points) were a still a dominant force inside, and guard Kadavion Evans poured in a game-high 23 points to provide a scoring punch.

“We’ve played a tough schedule on the road this season, and these kids were ready,” said Huntington coach Mack Jones. “We’re still trying to jell, but we played team basketball and shared the ball tonight.

“Our posts passed the ball great tonight and made good catches in the paint.”

The Raiders (20-2, 6-0) have two of their biggest District 1-4A tests behind them with wins at second-place Fair Park (14-10, 5-1) and third-place Minden (16-7, 4-2).

The game went back and forth until Huntington broke a 23-23 tie with a 10-0 midway through the second quarter — after Sheppard picked up his third foul late in the first.

Evans and Aldon Kelly, Jr., made three pointers in the run while Anderson added two free throws, something Huntington made plenty of down the stretch.

Minden’s C.J. Elkins had several monster slams amid his team-high 21 points, and he had one near the end of the first half as Huntington grabbed a 37-29 edge.

“He’s had games of 40 points and averages a lot, but he’s a team player that creates for others,” said Minden coach Alan Shaw. “Huntington has so many athletes, and they can drape him, and I think he got a little fatigued.

“If you can sum this loss up in two words, it’s free throws. We missed 15 or 16 while Huntington made a lot of theirs.”

The Raiders sprinted to a 9-1 run near the beginning of third quarter to build their biggest lead at 46-31 after an Evans 3-pointer.

“We’re still finding our roles, but Evans is a scoring point guard,” Jones said. “He makes things happen.”

Minden didn’t go away, slowing chopping the lead to 56-46 at the end of the third quarter.

Two Louis Moore (11 points) closed the gap to eight points, and the Crimson Tide eventually got to 62-56 with a Jalen Bell free throw with 3:23 left.

But Evans and Woodard scored on consecutive possessions, and Minden could never come closer as Huntington made seven of its last eight free throws.

Minden’s Anfernee Red (17 points) and Kevin Hamilton (13 points) also reached double figures.

“I like where this team is at, and I think we’ve jelled in the last month,” Shaw said. “We’re peaking at the right time.

“This district is so competitive, and we can say that we’ve just about everything once we get to the playoffs.”


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