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The defense of the Hunt High varsity boys basketball team played a significant role in keeping it away from an egregious 3-A Big East Conference loss Friday night.
Facing last-place Franklinton, the Warriors held a slim two-point lead as their shots struggled to fall from the perimeter with any consistency. Meanwhile, Hunt’s posts in freshman Davon Jones and senior Zion May struggled to establish consistency inside..
But out of halftime, Jones and May rediscovered their footing, allowing Hunt to race to a double-digit lead and secure an eventual 57-46 victory.
Hunt picked up its 10th victory against six losses and evened its Big East record at 2-2. The Red Rams dipped to 2-14 in all games and remained winless through three conference encounters.
“We definitely put a lot of energy into it,” Hunt head coach Dwight Taylor said of the opening half. “We just weren’t scoring. But (Franklinton) did a good job defensively also. (Hunt) stayed engaged on the defensive end, and I was satisfied with that part. Going into halftime, we only had a one-point lead (actually two), but the second half, they came out with the same type of intensity, and some of the shots fell.”
Leading 22-20 at the half with six second-quarter points off the bench from junior Shaq Wade, Hunt established separation with a 15-5 run to open the second half. May had a pair of putbacks to fuel the run, with Jones adding a putback and tip of his own. Junior Tiquez Taylor’s 3-pointer sent Hunt to a 39-25 lead, and the Warriors carried a 41-29 advantage into the fourth quarter.
May had 11 points to pace Hunt and finished two rebounds shy of a double-double with eight boards. Jones had 10 points and five rebounds, with all of his retrievals coming in the second half. Franklinton, which was coaxed into a litany of missed jumpers by the Hunt defense, claimed a narrow 24-22 edge in the rebounding battle. Jones and May influenced action in the paint.
“The focus was on those two big boys inside,” Taylor said. “A lot of times, we’ve just got to hit outside shots to loosen them up.”
The Red Rams inhibited their comeback bid by committing 25 turnovers, many of the unforced variety. Hunt had 15 and finished 12 of 15 from the free-throw line. Jumper-reliant Franklinton was just 2 of 4 from the line, not taking its first recorded free throw until 1:15 remained. A third-quarter lane violation wiped away the Red Rams’ first would-be attempt.
Gabe Rhodes led Franklinton with 11 points.
“We needed a game like this,” Taylor said. “To learn how to win types of games where you’ve got the lead, and you know how to take care of the ball — making free throws down the stretch and that type of thing. So it was a good learning experience for a young team.”
Burnham 3, Cornell, Spencer 7, Privette, Burnett 7, Toman 8, Cooper, Burrell 2, McCowan, Spencer 6, Rhodes 11, Taborn 2.
Hammonds, Wade 7, Coley 9, Taylor 5, Hines 7, Clay 8, Jones 10, Carmon, May 11, Bates.
Score by quarters:
Franklinton 11 9 9 17 — 46
Hunt 10 12 19 16 — 57