BAINBRIDGE – For both Huntington and senior Ariel Sams, the 2015-16 season started out in grand fashion.
The Huntsmen (1-0) pounded Northwest on Saturday afternoon 62-28 at Paint Valley High School in the ‘Lady Cats Classic’. In the victory, Sams hit seven three-point field goals — breaking the previous school record of six and moving to within 50 points of 1,000 in her career.
“You couldn’t ask for a better start,” Huntington coach Eric Snyder said. “Once we can get (Ariel) into some space, we can be dangerous. Plus we executed well and that was the thing. A lot of things that people don’t see is the plays we’re running. If the screens aren’t set in the right place or at the right time, a shot isn’t going to be there. Ariel did her job by catching and shooting and everybody else did their jobs as well.”
The seven triples also moved Sams’ career number to 124, closing in on Zane Trace’s Cassi Wertman (126) for third all-time in Ross County history.
Before the Mohawks (0-1) could blink, Sams had 18 first-quarter points and had powered her team to a 26-2 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Not much went better for Northwest in the second as Huntington outscored the Mohawks 14-6 to take a 40-8 edge into the locker rooms.
“I thought early, there in that first quarter, we controlled the tempo defensively,” Snyder said. “We also created turnovers, which created space for us to get out and run a little bit while getting our shooters some open looks. As soon as we saw a couple of shots fall down, everybody gained some confidence. In that first quarter, the thing I liked the most was that all five of our starters had scored at least once.”
When the third began, Sams still had a hot hand. The 5-foot-3 point guard scored nine of Huntington’s 11 points, while hitting her sixth trey of the night, as Huntington led 51-21.
In the fourth, the Huntsmen used a mix of Carolane Cox and Kennedy DeBord to continue the rout while Sams hit her seventh right before time expired.
“It’s important for us to spread it around because we want to have threats all over the floor,” Snyder said. “If there’s one thing that we can clean up on, I didn’t think our intensity on the boards was as good as it could’ve been in the second half. We can’t give that many second chances up down the road.”
Sams finished with 37 points — an area high this weekend — while Cox poured in eight points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out four dimes. DeBord added nine points and four rebounds while Dylana Gragg logged four points and six rebounds.
The Huntsmen will next travel to Western on Tuesday night.
Southeastern pummeled by Lynchburg-Clay
BAINBRIDGE – The Southeastern Panthers also participated in Saturday’s ‘Lady Cats Classic’ but didn’t have nearly as much success as their SVC counterpart Huntington.
Southeastern (0-1) found itself on the losing end of a 72-35 final at the hands of Lynchburg-Clay.
Once the Panthers fell behind 16-7 after the first quarter, they struggled to stay in the contest. The Lady Mustangs held a 40-10 lead at halftime and a 56-31 lead after the third.
Leading Southeastern’s offense was junior Audrie Wheeler with 16 points alongside six rebounds. Defending SVC Player of the Year Ella Skeens added 10 points and eight boards while Cindellynn Murta was the Panthers’ next leading scorer with four.
The Panthers will try to get back on track Dec. 1 at Westfall.