Despite having to wait three days to play, Huron came out Monday night and didn’t seem like they were in any rush to play state-ranked and city-rival Skyline in a showdown between two of the top teams in the area.
Instead, the River Rats tried to slow things down. It wasn’t a stall, but they spread the floor and tried to get Skyline to come out and chase them. The strategy worked – for the first half – but a strong third quarter by the Eagles was the difference as Skyline pulled ahead early in the second half and knocked off Huron 58-49.
The Eagles improved to 15-0 overall and 7-0 in the SEC.
Brandon Wade had a great night with 21 points on 7 of 13 shooting including two three-pointers and 5 of 7 from the line. Brandon also had 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals. Ryan Wade hit some big three pointers going 3 of 5 from outside the arc and finished with 16 points and did a good job defending Lewis Willis.
DeSean Munson had 10 points and 5 rebounds, Jack Ammerman had 7 points, Kabir Bergin had 5 big rebounds and 2 points, and Darius Hall played great defense on Avery Lewis to help keep in single digits.
The two teams headed into halftime deadlocked at 25-25 as the slow tempo and strong defense dominated the first two quarters.
But the Eagles made their move early and often. They used aggressiveness on defense to create turnovers and they didn’t miss on the offensive end – turning open looks into points.
Senior Jack Ammerman got things started with a layup and then Ryan Wade turned a steal into a triple and just like that it was 31-25 with 6:14 left in the quarter. Brandon Wade hit a triple to push the lead to 34-25 and then Brandon Wade had another steal and found Ammerman for a basket and the hosts used a 12-0 run to turn a tie game into a 37-25 lead.
It’s difficult to keep playing trying to slow things down when you find yourself down 12 points. And the change of pace had its ups and downs for the visiting River Rats.
After Brandon Wade hit a triple, Huron’s LJ Dewolf answered at the other end. Avery Lewis went inside for a basket and the River Rats cut the deficit to 40-33. Then Huron’s Lewis Willis hit a triple just before the buzzer to make it 42-37 – turning a 12 point hole into a more manageable five points with a whole quarter still to play.
Another triple by Willis cut the lead to 44-40 midway through the fourth quarter and it looked like the game could go down to a close finish.
But the Eagles just kept coming – this is the pace and time of game they really excel and excel they did. Brandon Wade hit a triple to give the Eagles a 49-41 lead. Then, after a miss inside, Skyline’s DeSean Munson came flying down the lane and slammed home two more points (see video) to make it 51-43 with 3:55 left in the game.
And with 1:13 left in the game, Ryan Wade stroked a triple from the corner to give the hosts a 56-46 lead and pretty much seal the deal.
Willis gave Huron a 9-8 lead in the first quarter before two free throws from Ammerman made it 10-9 Skyline. Brandon Wade went coast to coast to give the Eagles a 14-9 lead after one quarter.
After Willis hit a triple in the second quarter, Ryan Wade answered with one at the other end. Huron’s David Olawale had a three-point play to cut the deficit to 21-20 and Lewis tied the game at 25-25 with a long triple from the wing.