By: Jim Steele
Huntingdon overturned an eight-point, third-quarter deficit into a 56-44 victory over the host McKenzie Rebels Tuesday night.
The victory completed a season sweep by HHS of the Lady Rebels and Rebels and crowned the Mustangs as District 11A regular-season champs. Huntingdon will be the top seed in the district tournament, which will start Saturday at Bethel University.
In the opener, the Fillies spurned a tough challenge from the Lady Rebels and won 72-48.
In the nightcap, the Rebels and Mustangs jockeyed back and forth for the lead. McKenzie surged in front by seven at the half, 26-19. The Rebels got into a bit of foul trouble early and were outscored 5-0 from the line in the first frame. But McKenzie managed a bit of separation in the second frame as the Rebels were able to penetrate with Lazarick Hill and Lucas King. That opened things up for Ben Austin in the paint. Huntingdon's Tyrese Mebane was injured on the last play of the first half and limped out of the locker room as the third quarter began.
McKenzie's Nate Whitsell asserted himself in the third frame and McKenzie increased its margin by a point. Whitsell had eight of McKenzie's 11 points in the quarter. Austin and King each had four fouls in the third, but McKenzie took a 37-29 lead, heading into the fourth.
That's when Huntingdon grabbed the momentum. Kaleel Bailey flushed three triples to start the fourth, then added a deuce and the Mustang deficit disappeared. Austin was able to score to stop the flurry, but Huntingdon pushed the issue with transistion and garnered a double-digit lead. With about two minutes to play, it was evident that the Rebels couldn't rally.
In the opener, McKenzie stayed right with the Fillies in the first half and fell behind 33-25 at the break. The rebound margin was about the same and the Lady Rebels couldn't find the spark, but still were in striking range. As the second half started, however, Huntingdon opened with seven unanswered points and, in an eyeblink, Huntingdon held a 15-point lead. From there, Huntingdon expanded its lead to 25 several times in the fourth.
Huntingdon was 12-16 from the free throw line while McKenzie only got to the line nine times, hitting four.
Kaci Fuller led the Fillies with 20 points, Alli Jones added 16 Marisa Belew scored 13. The Fillies drilled nine three-pointers.
Shelby Davis led the Lady Rebels with 13, Jacey Davis and Shelby Butler each had 12. McKenzie hit eight triples.