HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Tavian Dunn-Martin was feeling it Friday night - maybe a little too much, in fact.
However, the biggest play turned in by Huntington's sensational sophomore shooter might have been his deft passing and not his uncanny marksmanship.
Dunn-Martin drove the lane and slipped a pass to Arick Nicks for a layup with 38 seconds left, giving the host Highlanders a thrilling 69-68 victory over Capital in a matchup of unbeaten and top-ranked Class AAA teams.
The inside-outside combination of the 6-foot-4 Nicks (33 points, 13 rebounds) and the shifty, 5-7 Dunn-Martin (25 points, three steals, 7 of 13 on 3-pointers) eventually brought the No. 2 Highlanders back from first-half deficits as large as 12 points.
Capital (5-1), the No. 3 team in AAA, led virtually the entire way, but lost the advantage twice in the final 1:11 as first Dunn-Martin, then Nicks hit crucial baskets.
"I was feeling the shots,'' said Dunn-Martin, "and I was making them, so I just kept shooting.''
He swished three straight 3s in the final quarter, the last one from the right corner off an inbound play with a defender in his face, giving the Highlanders a 67-66 edge at the 1:11 mark - their first lead of the night. That one, like most of Dunn-Martin's treys, was a fadeaway shot, and he continually fell to the floor after releasing the ball.
The lead then changed hands one more time, rapid-fire style.
Carrington Morris sank a scooping layup for the Cougars with 48 seconds remaining, and Dunn-Martin quickly put the ball on the floor, weaved through the Capital defense and found Nicks cutting along the baseline for the winning basket.
"We've got a connection,'' Dunn-Martin said. "We just look for each other. I look for him, he looks for me. We get each other the ball. He just happened to be there, so I passed it to him.''
Capital had three more chances after that.
Huntington's Chancelor Wooding deflected a Cougars pass, giving his team the ball to start a fast break. Dunn-Martin, owing to his unconscious shooting, got the ball deep in the left corner and instead of working the clock, hoisted an unnecessary 3 that bounced off the rim.
"That was a mental mistake,'' Dunn-Martin said. "It won't happen again, though. You've just got to play through it.''