Huntington gets big
plays from multiple
people in opening-night
Huntington was the first SVC boys’ team to tip-off the
2010-2011 regular season as the Huntsmen had the 5 p.m.
draw in Game 1 of this year’s ZT Tip-Off Classic.
Huntington’s opponent was Lynchburg-Clay of the
Southern Hills League and both played a tight, back-and-forth
game that saw Huntington escape with a 47-44 win.

In the early going, the teams traded first quarter runs. After
Lynchburg-Clay scored the game’s first bucket,
Huntington scored the next 12 points. Lynchburg responded to
score 14 of the game’s next 16 points to even things up at
16-16 after one period of play.

The second quarter saw the two teams pass the lead a few
more times with Lynchburg heading to the half with a 29-27
lead. The two-point deficit was not all that bad for Huntington
at the break as the Huntsmen were able to protect Dylan
Gragg from serious foul trouble. A big reason in the first half
Huntington was able to do this was the play of freshman Brian
Hall. Hall finished his first varsity game by scoring all of his
seven points and grabbing seven of his nine rebounds in the first
half to keep Huntington close.

In the third quarter, Gragg started to put his stamp on the
opening night win. The junior scored eight of his team-high 21
points in the period. Despite the fine play from Gragg,
Lynchburg continued to play Huntington tough as the two
teams were once again tied at 37-37 after three quarters of
play. Lynchburg’s tough play was maintained in the early
part of the final quarter as the Mustangs took a 44-43 lead
midway through the fourth. The lead for the Mustangs was
short-lived. On the next possession, Brice Vickers missed a
right wing three-pointer, but followed his shot and scored the
put back goal to give the green and white the 45-44 advantage.
The bucket by the sophomore came as the clock clicked under
two minutes and eventually proved to be the game winner.
Vickers finished with 11 points.

Lynchburg did have chances in the game’s final minutes,
but several Huntington players contributed down the stretch.
Leading by just one, Vickers had a key deflection defensively
which led to a jump ball situation on a great hustle play from
Gragg, but the arrow gave the ball back to the Mustangs.
Another Huntington stop put Blake Campbell on the free throw
line and the junior delivered two key points to give Huntington
a three-point lead at 47-44. The Mustangs had another
opportunity to tie the game, but Brendon Campbell recorded a
key steal to secure the win.

Another nice second-half lift came from Mike Smith. Like Hall
did in the first half, Smith – a senior – scored four points
and grabbed three rebounds, but he definitely impacted the
game on the defensive end and in the paint.

Huntington’s team MVP award went to Gragg. The
returning first-team all-leaguer was very impressive in the win.
Gragg made 10 of his 13 field goal attempts to finish with the
before mentioned 21 points. Huntington starts at 1-0 and will
get right back at it tomorrow night when they welcome Miami
Winning this way now could
mean a few more later

By Shayne Combs, SVCsportszone.com
This was a huge win for Huntington. You
never want to make too big of deal out
of an opening night game if you win or
lose, but I believe this win could help the
Huntsmen down the road. Huntington is
going to play a lot of close games this
season and learning how to win a close
game like this one is a great confidence
builder for a team that has several new
faces in 2010-2011.

The storyline of tonight’s game is
going to need to be the storyline of many
games this season for Huntington. As I
mentioned in the
SVC Preview Article
last week, Huntington can be a team that
gives a lot of top teams problems and
tonight was a great example of why. In a
game against a somewhat talented
Lynchburg team that was senior-heavy,
Huntington dominated tempo, got a big
night from Dylan Gragg, and made all
the hustle plays down the stretch.

Coach Rick Uhrig always has done a
solid job in getting kids to play hard and
play within their roles. He had to be
extremely happy with the fact that
several different players contributed
down the stretch in several ways
including steals, loose balls, and key

Huntington will definitely run into some
nights where foul trouble or great
balance scoring from opponents could
lead to some tough outcomes; however,
it is fair to say tonight does give a
blueprint for success for this year’s
Huntington squad.