with gallery: Huron girls basketball earns share of SEC Red title with 36-29 win over Pioneer
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The Huron High School girls basketball team sleepwalked through most of Friday’s rivalry game against Pioneer, but got a wakeup call just in time.
After Pioneer cut the Huron lead to one point with four minutes left, Auzhane King hit a 3-point basket on the other end, and hit another two possessions later to bookend an eight-point Huron run that put the game away.
In between, Huron forced two steals, as the River Rats held on in a 36-29 win at home.
“They were like, ‘Oh crap, it’s one point now.’ I think we went on a seven- or eight-point run after that,” Huron coach Steve Vinson said. “We were looking for that the whole game, it took a long time to get to that.”
The win gave Huron (11-4, 9-1 SEC Red) at least a share of the Southeastern Conference Red Division title for the fourth straight year, with a two-game lead over Temperance Bedford with two league games to play.
But there wasn’t much celebrating in the Huron locker room afterward. After facing fellow first-place team Dexter on Tuesday, and coming away with a 47-39 win, the River Rats struggled to pull away Friday. They led the entire way, but never by double digits.
“We just didn’t have a good rhythm tonight, our energy level was down for whatever reason, and I think that’s why you saw what you saw,” Vinson said.
King and Payton Sims led Huron with six points apiece. Rhalon Slay led Pioneer (8-8, 3-7 SEC Red) with nine, while Desiree Cougill had eight points and 10 rebounds.
After Huron took an 11-6 lead after one quarter, neither team scored through the first five minutes of the second quarter.
Pioneer switched to a zone defense that flummoxed Huron, and Pioneer struggled to get shots off against the River Rats’ pressure defense.
“They’re talented, they’re athletic, we can’t stay with them in a man-to-man” Pioneer coach Crystal Westfield said. “But for a zone, it gives us a chance to get some boards we usually get, it gives us a chance to get a rest because we’re not as deep as they are. That was our game plan.”
Pioneer, though, had 28 turnovers for the game and 15 in the first half, as it struggled to create shots.
“We had a lot of turnovers, and let me tell you, I think the outcome could have been different if we didn’t have 28 turnovers," Westfield said.
Huron, meanwhile, will hope to get back in a groove with a tough non-conference schedule next week. The River Rats face Clarkston, No. 7 in the latest Class A Associated Press poll, on Tuesday, and host Goodrich, the No. 2 team in Class B.
“I’m so happy that we have an opportunity to play Clarkston and Goodrich next week,” Vinson said. “Hopefully we can get our focus and our mental edge back.”