The Huron basketball team dribbled into Pioneer High School on Monday as one of the top-ranked teams in the state and with an undefeated record on the hard wood.
The Pioneers were unimpressed.
Like the saying goes, when city rivals meet you can throw out the records and out the window they went when the River Rats walked out onto the court for an SEC Red Division matchup against the Pioneers.
Pioneer played a solid basketball game and didn’t give an inch. In fact, with a little over 2 minutes to go in the third quarter the Pioneers pulled to within 37-36. But there is a reason you don’t really throw out the records – because they truly mean something and they meant that the River Rats were too talented, too well coached and too experienced to let this one get away.
Huron took a 44-40 lead into the fourth quarter and outscored the Pioneers 14-9 over the final 8 minutes to lock up a 58-49 win and improve to 9-0 on the season.
The River Rats face another rival tonight (Tuesday) when they play Skyline.
Huron is known for its balanced-scoring attack and Monday night was no different. Devin Womak (two triples) and Tyson Edmondson (four triples) each scored 14 points for the River Rats. Julian Lewis had a solid game with 12 points. Kingsley Perkins scored seven and Brandon Rawls had six points in the win.
Rasheed Sampson had a huge game for the Pioneers. The senior center had eight points in the first quarter, six in the third and fourth quarters to finish with a game-high 22 points. Senior Aidan Lee knocked down a pair of triples and finished with 10 points and Taurean Burns scored six for the home team.
Womack and Sergio Bennett knocked down triples and the River Rats scored the final four points of the quarter to take a 16-9 lead after one.
The Pioneers didn’t allow the River Rats to get away in the second quarter but the visitors kept their city rival at arm’s length.
After a triple from Burns, Rawls dunked home two points and Edmondson nailed a three-pointer to give Huron a 23-12 lead. Sampson hit a jumper for Pioneer but Edmondson hit another triple to answer to make it 26-16 with 2:26 left in the quarter.
Lee delivered a three-pointer for the home team to make it 26-19 and another triple from Burns cut the deficit to 28-24 and that was the score as the teams headed to halftime.
Pioneer hung tough in the third quarter. And this wasn’t a team punching above its weight – the Pioneers have talent, nine seniors on the roster and are very well coached. The River Rats knew they would have to play well to deliver this game into the win column.
And they did just that.
A three-point play by Elijah Klein brought Pioneer to within 32-31. After another triple from Edmondson (remember, he had four on the night), Lee scored inside and then hit a three-pointer to cut the lead to 37-36 with 2:20 left in the third quarter.
Womack knocked down a triple at the other end to make it 42-36.
Huron took a 44-40 lead into the fourth quarter.
A three-point play by Perkins gave the River Rats a 47-40 lead. And a triple from Edmondson pushed the lead to 50-41 with 5 minutes left in the game. The Pioneers pulled to within five points, but a triple from Lewis made it 53-45 with 2 minutes left in the game.
Pioneer plays at Skyline on Thursday.