HURRICANE, W.Va. -- The Hurricane boys basketball team didn't emerge from the locker room until there was under a minute left before the start of the second half, which indicated the mood of Coach Lance Sutherland.The Redskins, coming off a season in which they reached the state tournament for the first time in school history, only led Ripley by one point at halftime. When the whistle blew to begin play in the third quarter, Sutherland was still scurrying across the court.Hurricane responded to Sutherland's message, pulling away from Ripley in a big way in the second half to earn a 81-58 home victory in front of a crowd of about 175."I just told them they needed to figure it out," Sutherland said. "We are a lot better than that. If you want to get back to Charleston or make any impact this year, we have to decide to play basketball.
"We weren't doing that. I wasn't real happy with anybody. I take partial responsibility. They did pick things up in the second half."Sutherland's message was received loud and clear by the Hurricane players."He just basically told we had to step it up or a team that wasn't as good as us would come in here and beat us," said Hurricane senior Henry Sorsaia, who led the way with 26 points and 13 rebounds.Sorsaia scored 20 of his game-high 26 points and grabbed nine of his 13 rebounds in the second half."In the first half I wasn't playing very aggressive and Coach motivated me in the locker room," Sorsaia said. "I came out a lot more aggressive in the second half, and it helped me out."I think I came in and had some easy buckets early on. It got my confidence going, and from there on I kept rolling."Sutherland was pleased with Sorsaia's performance after intermission."He was big and he can do that every night," Sutherland said. "He took the first half off. I told him at halftime if he wants to play college basketball, he has to step it up, and he did big time."Ripley was tied with Hurricane at 39-39 in the third quarter before the Redskins went on a 10-0 run to take command. On the run, Sorsaia and Ace Estep had four points each to spark the team.Leading by 12, Hurricane went on another huge run, this one 17-0 that spanned the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth.Sutherland was pleased with the turnaround, but cautioned his team that a similar slow start wouldn't end well when the Redskins host Capital on Friday.
"The second half was a lot better and we ran the plays we were suppose to, and it worked," Sutherland said. "But if we don't play any better, Capital will spank us."Trey Dawson, one of the few Redskins players Sutherland praised for his efforts throughout the entire game, ended the night with 23 points, including hitting on 5 of 9 from 3-point range.Garrett Defries also had a balanced game for Hurricane, scoring 10 points, grabbing six rebounds, dishing out seven assists and collecting three steals.For Ripley (0-2), sophomore Luke Layhew finished with 19 points and seven rebounds. Kade Harrison added 11 points, seven boards and six assists.