HURRICANE — The 1-3-1 zone is effective when played correctly, but when it’s not, the defense essentially is worthless.
Cabell Midland misplayed that scheme into a 32-25 halftime deficit, but adjusted in the second half and rallied for a 65-52 victory over Hurricane in a boys Class AAAA Region 4 co-final Wednesday.
The Knights (12-4) drew a No. 6 seed and will play third-seeded Martinsburg (14-1) at 9:30 a.m. May 6 in the state tournament quarterfinals at the Charleston Coliseum. Cabell Midland qualified for the state tournament each of the last two seasons, but the 2020 tournament was canceled because of COVID-19.
“We’re happy to get to play,” said senior forward K.K. Siebert, who scored 17 points. “Last year’s state tournament got cut short. We really wanted to get back again.”
For a while it appeared as if the Redskins (8-13) would head to Charleston. They consistently beat the 1-3-1 and committed just six turnovers in the first half. The second two quarters were a different story, as Cabell Midland forced 15 turnovers and converted 11 to points.
“Hurricane is a lot better than they were the first time we played them,” Knights coach J.J. Martin said, referring to a 76-59 Cabell Midland win March 18. “I watched them come from seven points down in the final minute and beat St. Albans last week, so we knew we couldn’t let up.”
Cabell Midland came out strong in the third quarter, scoring the first nine points in a 17-2 run to lead 42-34. The Redskins never pulled closer.
“At halftime we talked about how we weren’t trapping,” said Siebert, whose basket with 50 seconds left gave the Knights their largest lead at 63-47. “We came out and trapped in the second half and played a lot stronger.”
The improved effort and aggression worked, as the Redskins turned the ball over seven times in the third quarter and eight in the fourth.
“In the first half we weren’t moving,” Martin said. “We weren’t rotating. We can’t play a 1-3-1 if we’re not trapping. We had to get them to speed up.”
Chandler Schmidt started slowly, missing his first seven shots and scoring two points in the first half, but came on strong in the second half to finish with 17 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Palmer Riggio chipped in 11 points as Cabell Midland made 25 of 49 shots (51%) despite going 5 for 19 from 3-point range.
Nas’jaih Jones paced Hurricane with 13 points, 11 in the first half. Dillon Tingler scored 11 points.