Led by Josh Kellough and Zach Riley, the Huntington Huntsmen remained perfect on the year with a 63-51 Scioto Valley Conference win over visiting Piketon.
Shayne Combs was on hand and has the details.
CHILLICOTHE – The Huntington Huntsmen remained perfect on the year with a 63-51 Scioto Valley Conference win over visiting Piketon.
The green and white got an offensive explosion from Josh Kellough as well as a defensive spark from Zach Riley to build an early, double-digit first-quarter lead that would prove in the end to be the difference.
With Huntington holding an early 11-8 lead, the senior duo of Kellough and Riley went to work. Riley forced three Piketon turnovers in a four possession span, and he converted one of those steals into an easy lay-up on the other end. Kellough took care of the other opportunities burying two triples, and then scored on the final possession of the quarter, when he used a solid screen from brother Justin to score, completing the 11-2 run and giving Huntington the 21-10 advantage at the end of one.
“Zach’s effort is a big part of our defense, especially on a night where we were facing a talented, yet young point-guard,” said Huntington head coach Rick Uhrig speaking highly of Piketon’s freshman PG Evan Legg who played well scoring 10 points, dishing out seven assist, and grabbing four rebounds against a very experienced Huntington backcourt. “I thought he (Legg) handled himself well, but I did think we were able to pressure him well at times and disturb what they were trying to do in their half court offense.”
Piketon did fight back in quarter number two. After getting eight points in the first eight minutes from off-guard in Jordan Brabson, the Redstreaks turned to Cody Smith in the second period. The junior lefty scored seven points in the quarter including a late three-pointer that sent the teams to the half with Huntington leading 29-21.
Piketon continued to control tempo in the early part of the second half. The Redstreaks slowly trimmed at the Huntington lead but a bad thirty-second stretch put Piketon in a hole that it could not escape.
The stretch was sparked by the Kellough twins, Josh and Justin. First, it was Josh to Justin and back to Josh, to convert the beautiful give-and-go resulting in the easy bucket. On the ensuing possession, the Huntsmen forced a turnover that resulted in the play of the night. Justin started the break with a pass to Josh and Josh returned the favor with a pinpoint, behind-the-back pass that threaded its way through two Piketon defenders hitting Justin in stride for a lay-up that stretched the Huntington lead back to 10 and forced the Redstreaks to burn a timeout.
“I thought our kids played hard tonight,” said Piketon head coach Jeff Lisath. “We probably stayed in our zone a few possessions too long in the first half and that allowed Kellough to get loose. The rest of the night we played them fairly even, but we never could recover from the first-quarter.”
On the night, Josh was 13-21 from the floor including five of eight from beyond the arc scoring a game-high 31 points. The senior star also recorded five assists and five rebounds. The Huntsmen also got 12 points, five assists, and five rebounds from Justin while junior post player Corey Cottrill grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked two shots.
The win keeps Huntington perfect at 5-0 and sets up a battle of two unbeaten teams Saturday afternoon at the Convo in Athens when the Huntsmen take on Vinton County. The Vikings will enter the 5:45 tip-off at 6-0 as a result of their tough road win at Belpre. Vinton County defeated the Eagles 61-50 on the strength of 20 points from junior forward Jake Prater.
Piketon (3-2, 2-1) was led by three guys in double-figures. Smith scored a team-high 15 points while Brabson and Legg added 10 apiece. The Redstreaks return to action Tuesday night when they face another tough road test at Westfall – a team that went to 2-0 with a 60-49 win over Unioto.
The other SVC games Friday night saw Adena remain unbeaten in conference play with a 75-51 win over Paint Valley and it was Zane Trace beating Southeastern 74-47.
In other action around the southeast, it was Chillicothe getting 30 points from its fine senior point-guard Anthony Hitchens in a 74-28 win over Ironton. In other SEOAL action, Portsmouth blew out Jackson 92-60 and Zanesville beat Warren 64-42.
In the SOC, Lucasville Valley knocked off Waverly 68-66, Western Latham held off Beaver Eastern 64-62 in double overtime, and Wheelersburg beat McDermott Northwest 62-49.
In the SCOL, Greenfield McClain stayed unbeaten in conference play with a 48-40 win over Miami Trace. Washington Court House rebounded from a tough loss to McClain earlier this week with a 75-36 win over East Clinton and Hillsboro held off London 74-68.