Hurricane's Trey Dawson drives to the hoop as Logan's Benny Adkins (42) defends.
HURRICANE - Last season provided landmarks at the start and finish for Hurricane.The Redskins won at Logan for the first time in 21 years to begin the season, and ended it for the first time as part of the Class AAA state tournament field in the Civic Center.For a long time in Thursday night's opener, however, it looked like a landmine instead.Hurricane fell behind shorthanded Logan by as many as 13 points in the first half in front of a raucous home crowd. But then a solid second half, not to mention double-figure scoring by all five starters, rescued the Redskins toward a 78-63 victory.Garrett DeFries dropped in 22 points to lead Hurricane, and Henry Sorsaia ruled the low post with 19 points and 19 rebounds.The Redskins didn't take the lead for good until Sorsaia's three-point play early in the fourth quarter to make it 53-51. Hurricane hit 15 of 23 from both the floor and the foul line in the second half to start pulling away."It's a step in the right direction,'' said Redskins coach Lance Sutherland. "We're a pretty new team. I know we've got three starters back, but our roster has a bunch of brand new faces and a bunch of new things. It's going to take a while for us to get used to playing together.''It took more than three quarters on Thursday as the Wildcats managed to build a big lead despite being without injured senior Josh Rein, a potential starter, and having top returning scorer Brynden "Worm'' Street sitting on the bench after just 85 seconds when he picked up his second foul.In fact, seven different Logan players were whistled for two fouls apiece in the first half, forcing coach Mark Hatcher to dig deep into his bench. Still, those replacements conjured up leads as large as 36-23 and the Wildcats stayed in front 36-29 at halftime.
"We were horrible in the first half,'' Sutherland said. "We're trying to find that team concept. Really, we were playing as individuals and weren't playing as a team. We put some subs in, and the subs got it back to seven. Then Garrett DeFries stepped up and started playing some defense and Trey [Dawson] decided he wanted to start playing and everybody started rolling."The second half, we played better. We still didn't play real good, but that goes to Logan. Logan made us play this way.''Sorsaia tallied 11 of his 19 points in the final quarter as the Redskins started to build their lead. Also finishing in double-figure scoring were Ace Estep (12 points), Jake Lemmerman (11) and Dawson (10).Logan's chances soured when point guard Zach Acord (14 points) fouled out with 3:50 left and Street (15 points, six rebounds) picked up his fifth at the 1:58 mark."[When Acord fouled out] we go from three ball-handlers to two ball-handlers,'' Hatcher said, "and those two are a freshman and a sophomore. I think Hurricane sensed that, felt that and came after us even more.''Trevor Abbott led Logan's bench play by hitting a pair of 3-pointers and scoring 10 points. The Wildcats, shuttling a dozen players into the lineup, outrebounded the Redskins 43-37 with no one getting more than Street's six.
"I think this may be like one of my double-A teams,'' Hatcher said. "Five guys may play one night and five more may play the next night. We may use different guys at least through December. It may take us a few games to sort out who's ready for this and who's not.''Sutherland realizes the expectations of his program changed when the Redskins reached the state tournament last winter."Maybe we were a little overconfident coming into the game,'' he said. "If we play like that, we'll never make it back to Charleston. We've got to get better. But we won. I'll take it. A win's a win.''Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or email@example.com.