By Grant Traylor
For The Register-Herald
It took Woodrow Wilson’s boys basketball team nearly three quarters to figure out that the backside lob was open in Huntington High’s zone.
But once the Flying Eagles’ guards did, it was all Day.
Christian Day scored 18 points, including the game-winner from underneath with 25 seconds remaining to help Woodrow Wilson hold off Huntington High in a 63-61 road victory in MSAC play on Monday night.
“(It was there) All night long, and our guys got him the ball late and he scored and got to the foul line a time or two,” Woodrow Wilson coach Ron Kidd said. “I thought he played great defense also.”
The win did not come without plenty of suspense, however.
Day’s layup was the final lead change in a game that featured 19 lead changes with eight coming in the final 3:15 of action. Day added 10 rebounds to go with his 18 points.
Woodrow Wilson (7-0) also had to sweat out a desperation 3-point attempt that fell short into the arms of Huntington High’s Tyquan Sayles, whose rebound attempt fell off the rim as time expired.
“We hadn’t played in 12 days, so we were just happy to get this game in,” Kidd said. “But anytime you’re on the road in the MSAC, it’s tough. If you get a win, it’s very big.”
On a night in which leading scorer Cameron Shannon was limited to seven points, it was the play of Day and several other veterans that allowed the Flying Eagles to escape with the victory.
Matt Potter added 16 points and Larry Terry scored 10 of his 15 in the first half to lead the Flying Eagles to a 31-29 halftime lead.
The lead was especially impressive considering that all five starters had at least two fouls at the break and Cameron Shannon, Woodrow Wilson’s leading scorer, had not even attempted a shot. He finished with seven points in the game.
“The way we play, we want him to shoot as much as possible. He’s our go-to guy,” Kidd said. “I really don’t know what happened there. That’s the beauty of our team though. When one guy isn’t making shots, we have someone else that can step up.”
The loss was the second-consecutive loss that came down to the final buzzer for the Highlanders, who fell to 2-5 on the season. On Thursday night, Greenbrier East earned a 47-46 win over Huntington High on a 15-foot jumper at the buzzer.
In that game, the Highlanders got 25 of their 46 points from senior Toquan Hayes with no other players stepping up to contribute.
For Huntington High coach Ron Hess, he saw his young lineup grow up before his eyes against one of the state’s best.
Sayles, the Highlanders’ sophomore center, finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds while Wooding, a fellow sophomore, netted 15, including three 3-pointers.
“It’s hard to take — losing these close games like this — but you are seeing a basketball team that is getting better,” Huntington High coach Ron Hess said. “I’m trying to stress that to the kids because they are down. I’ve got to make them understand that if we had played like this all year, we might have lost one, maybe two games total.”
Woodrow Wilson puts its undefeated record on the line at home against George Washington, the defending Class AAA state champions, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday night.