Woodrow tops Hurricane in boys basketball
BECKLEY - Minus all-state guard Donte Nabors, Woodrow Wilson still managed to take care of business Saturday afternoon.
Jaylon Breckenridge led a balanced attack with 14 points and Dai Dai Fortune sparked a late run as the Flying Eagles soared past Hurricane 62-49 at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center.
Woodrow (3-2), ranked No. 10 in Class AAA, played its third straight game without Nabors, a first-team all-state selection last year and the team's top scorer, who's sidelined with an ankle injury.
Breckenridge picked up slack early, tallying 10 of his points in the first half to spark Woodrow to a 35-30 lead at the break.
"We've got to get this team back and going,'' Breckenridge said. "Beckley basketball. That's what it's all about.''
For Hurricane (5-2), steady Henry Sorsaia led the way with 21 points and seven rebounds. He scored at least two baskets in every quarter and hit 10 of 13 shots. Trey Dawson tossed in 12 points and had five steals, but missed 11 of 16 shots.
After the Redskins shaved a 12-point deficit down to 43-39 late in the third quarter, Woodrow went on one of its patented runs, scoring 14 of the game's next 15 points.
Fortune got that surge going, finding Noah Hancock and Nequan Carrington with nice passes that led to baskets, Carrington's turning into a three-point play. Fortune also knocked down a 3-pointer as he had a hand in all eight of the Eagles' points to end the third period with a 51-39 edge.
That lead grew to 57-40 to start the final quarter as Noah Hancock chipped in back-to-back buckets, including one of Woodrow's five rebound baskets.
Hurricane kept scrapping, with its pressure defense forcing six of Woodrow's 19 turnovers in the fourth quarter, but the closest it could get was 59-49 in the final minute.
Redskins coach Lance Sutherland has plenty to fret about, including 21 turnovers, 19-of-49 shooting (4 of 17 on 3s) and a 36-25 rebounding deficit.
"Beckley was physical,'' he said, "and we didn't match their physicality until the end of the game. When we got physical, we did OK.
"That may have been on me, I don't know. We tried to play a zone. We thought they're very fast and I thought it would work, and at times it did. When we picked it up at the end, it seemed they got flustered with our press.''
Hurricane made only 11 of 29 shots in falling behind by as many as 12 points in the first half, then committed 15 turnovers in the second half.
"Cut down turnovers and play defense,'' Sutherland said, "and you'll win basketball games.
"Then we've got to get smarter, too. We got it to a four-point game by going inside out, then we came down and started jacking up shots again like we did against Point Pleasant [a 60-59 win]. We're a good basketball team, we're a smart basketball team. We've just got to get better.''
Woodrow Wilson coach Ron Kidd likewise was disappointed with his team's turnover total, many of which were passes sailing out of bounds instead of into teammates' hands. However, the end result soothed his angst.
"We're not happy with our turnovers,'' Kidd said, "but we're happy with a win against a quality team. We respect them a lot. Their whole school does everything right. They're competitive in everything, so I think they do the right thing. Any time you beat people like that, you're happy.''
Noah Hancock added 12 points for the Flying Eagles, Carrington 11 (with eight rebounds) and Brent Osborne 10 (including two 3s). Chase Hancock grabbed a team-high nine rebounds and was two missed foul shots short of putting all five Woodrow starters in double-figure scoring.
"We're not satisfied with this win,'' Breckenridge said. "We've got to cut those turnovers down. We've got to get better and be ready to play another game Monday [against Shady Spring] and move forward.''
Kidd said Nabors, who recently removed a walking boot to protect his injury, could return for Friday's game against Winfield at Woodrow Wilson High School.
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or firstname.lastname@example.org.