Mikal Dawson scored 26 points, Grant Subik had 18 and John Dawson added 15 as Huntington ended the Friday festivities at the boys basketball state tournament with a 73-65 win over University.
The victory propelled the Highlanders (21-5) into the Class AAA championship game at 7:15 Saturday night at the Civic Center against top-ranked Capital. The Highlanders were seeded third this week, the Hawks second.
The Highlanders shot 57.9 percent to 39.3 percent for University (24-3). That included a 6-of-7 mark in the fourth quarter as they fended off a tough full-court press and repelled every rally.
University was led with 14 points each by Ethan Ridgeway and Geoff Hamperian, who also grabbed 11 rebounds. Holton Summers added 13 points.
The lead changed 10 times in the first half, and Huntington took a 35-31 lead into the locker room. The Hawks drew even at 42 with 2:10 left in the third, with Summers scoring on the fast break after a steal.
Tanner Stevens quickly broke that tie for Huntington, hitting a 3-pointer from the right corner. University drew to within 46-45 at the end of three quarters.
The Highlanders started the final quarter with a 12-2 run, leading 58-47 with 3:28 left. The Hawks’ Kaden Metheny hit two quick 3s to cut the margin to five points but got no closer as the Highlanders went 9 of 11 from the free-throw line. Mikal Dawson rebounded one of those misses and scored a basket.
The Highlanders led 20-15 after a quarter, but Mikal Dawson went on an 11-point binge to start the second, hitting two 3-pointers.
The contest was tied at 26 when Huntington converted a strange five-point possession. Summers was whistled for an intentional foul away from the ball, allowing the Highlanders to put their best foul shooter on the line. After Subik hit two free throws, Andrew Shull hit a 3 for a 31-26 lead.
Huntington shot 57.9 percent for the game, 10 of 19 from 3-point range, to University’s 39.3 percent. The Hawks hit 9 of 30 from long distance, needing to shoot then frequently toward the end.
The Highlanders have been beaten twice this winter by Mountain State Athletic Conference rival Capital by scores 70-62 and 70-46.
“I think we can take them this time, because nobody likes to be beaten twice by anybody,” Mikal Dawson said.