SC's A.D. Cunningham (3) and Trevond Reese defend against Madison Central's Coty Alexander.
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- In the end, basketball boils down to which team can put the ball in the basket the most.And when a team can do it 84 percent of the time for an entire half, it sure is tough to beat.Just ask South Charleston coach Vic Herbert, who watched his Black Eagles go from a six-point halftime lead to an 11-point setback all while playing solid basketball throughout a 73-62 loss to sharp-shooting Madison Central (Ky.) Saturday night.The contest was the championship game of the first Chick-Fil-A/South Charleston Basketball Classic held at the South Charleston Community Center.The Indians made all eight of their 3-pointers in the second half, including five in a third-quarter barrage that took them from being down eight to grabbing a three-point lead."That was unreal," Herbert said of Madison Central's shooting. "This was a good measuring stick for us. We want to win them all in here and I'm not happy we lost, but we played a good team."In addition to being hot, the Indians were also tested, having already taken nationally ranked Travis High School of Richmond, Texas, down to the wire and playing three games against top two teams within the state of Kentucky, falling to top-ranked Louisville Ballard and splitting a pair of games against Bullitt East when it was ranked No. 2 in the Bluegrass State.
Still, the Black Eagles more than held their own and when Rashaud Kincaid's last-second 3-point attempt went in to end the first half, SC found itself ahead 33-27."We didn't make a 3 the whole first half and were 8 for 10 in the second half," Madison Central coach Allen Feldhaus said. "In the first half we couldn't keep them out of the paint. No. 3 [SC's A.D. Cunningham] is a nice player. Finally we kind of held our ground defensively and started knocking down some of those open 3s and that can kind of deflate the other team when you make 8 of 10 from the 3-point line in the second half."Indeed, Cunningham turned into a one-man wrecking crew for the Black Eagles and kept SC in the game even as the Indians torched the nets on the other end.
Of South Charleston's first 21 points after halftime, Cunningham had 16 of them. He finished with a team-best 24 on 11-for-19 shooting to go with eight rebounds."A.D. is a special kid," Herbert said. "He's a special athlete. He's very determined and he plays better against better teams. He loves to face the best competition. Just a sophomore, he's going to continue to be really good for us. The sky is the limit for him, he's got a chance to be a heck of a player."As good as Cunningham was, he couldn't quite combat Madison's tandem of Ken-jah Bosley and Dominique Hawkins, who scored 22 and 26 points, respectively, on a combined 18-for-25 shooting.Hawkins especially took over late, scoring nine points in the third quarter and controlling the game after SC cut a 12-point deficit to five with just over two minutes remaining.Quan Taylor also chipped in 11 points for the Indians (10-3) including two thunderous dunks.
Kincaid ended up with 12 points for South Charleston (5-1) and Hunter Moles scored 10, all of which came in the second half.As for the tournament itself, all parties involved seemed encouraged by its success and Herbert said he hopes it is something the school continues for a while."We're going to try to keep doing the same thing," Herbert said, referring to the invitation of two solid out-of-state programs. (Pickerington Central, Ohio defeated Riverside in the consolation game.) "We'd like to make this an annual thing and get this tournament going to where people get used to it and expect good teams to be in here and play good competition - that's what it's all about."Madison Central's Bosley, Taylor and Hawkins made up half of the all-tournament team and were joined by SC's Cunningham and Moles, as well as Pickerington's Conner Kern.Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.