The Greenbrier East Spartans traveled to Huntington High School to take on the Highlanders on Saturday, January 29 as part of the Jimmy Morgan, Sr. Classic tournament.
The Spartans (6-7) got off to a slow start en route to a 62-44 loss to their sixth ranked opponents.
It took over two minutes for either team to crack the scoring column until the Highlanders’ Malik McNeely hit a 3-pointer then next Poseidon hit a pull-up jumper for a 5-0 Huntington lead.
The Spartans finally got on the board with 4:01 left in the first quarter when Aaron Griffith rebounded his own miss and put it back in. At that point, Huntington led 5-2. Huntington extended their lead to 10-2 when McNeely found Donnell Hickman in the corner for a wide-open three with 2:40 remaining.
Montez Tubbs led a fast break and threw a big time bounce pass to Mikey Johnson who jumped up and threw down a slam and got the crowd into the game. The score was 12-3 after one.
Zach Patton made a driving shot that made the score 20-9, Huntington with 3:15 left in the first half. Griffith then had a steal and went coast-to-coast for a bucket and cut the deficit to single digits.
That is when a steal by Tubbs and another dunk by Johnson extended the Highlanders lead as Huntington (9-5) led 23-15 at halftime.
Goose Gabbert opened up the scoring for East in the second half with a left-wing three, but Mikey Johnson answered with a basket underneath and a floater from McNeely, and the Highlanders went back up by nine at 27-18.
Huntington extended their lead to 34-21 on back-to-back Hickman layups and Kaiden Huffman answered with one underneath for the Spartans to keep East within striking distance. A Griffith free throw and a Jude Libby offensive rebound score gained a little momentum for East, then a 3-pointer from Monquelle Davis and a basket by Griffith cut the Huntington lead to 38-31 with :47 left. Gabbert then hit a buzzer beater to end the quarter at 40-34, but that would be as close as East would get.
The Highlanders outscored the Spartans 22-8 in the fourth period to seal the win.
Griffith led East in scoring with 18 points.
Huntington was led by Mikey Johnson’s 17 points. McNeely added 15.
The Spartans are back in action at home this Tuesday night, February 1.