The Huffman Falcons (26-6) gave the Houston Yates Lions (19-9) all they could handle in Thursday's area round game at North Shore Senior High School before falling 107-104. With the win, Houston advances to the regional round of the 2014 3A state high school basketball tournament.
From the opening tip, the game was a battle of wills. Led by power forward J.C. Washington (31 points, 11 rebounds) and Jacob Young (23 points including six first half treys), Houston Yates jumped out to a 33-19 first quarter lead taking advantage of their height, athleticism and early foul trouble for Huffman star Zach Dumas. Despite the fourteen point deficit after eight minutes of play, a difference that would grow to eighteen by halftime, Huffman head coach Scott Barrett and his Falcons never lost confidence in their ability to make a game of it.
"It might sound funny to say but despite being down big, we knew we could come back," said Barrett. "Our guys believed in themselves and each other."
Trailing 63-45 to open the third quarter, Huffman put together a run similar to their 13-2 run in the first half with tough defense and sharp shooting from Zach Dumas and guard Garion Slayton. Dumas plagued by first half foul trouble scorched the nets for 15 third quarter points. Slayton scored eight including a three at the buzzer cutting the deficit to 87-81 heading the the fourth.
Yates'senior guard Damion Lewis drained two free throws pushing the lead back to ten with 6:10 left in the game but Huffman would not go away. The Falcons big man, Chase Harrell with a team high eight rebounds snatched his third offensive board with 2:46 to play and muscled it home cutting the lead to three at 100-97.
"Harrell is a beast," said Barrett following the game. "He was strong on the glass on both ends of the court and his performance gave us a chance at the end."
Huffman would get no closer as the Lions survived with a three point win and advance to regionals for a ninth consecutive season despite being outscored 59-44 in the second half. Yates extended its winning streak to nine games with the win, it's longest of the season.
Dumas led all scorers in his final game as a Falcon with 32 points, 5 assists, 3 steals and 6 boards. Gray completed his career with a 17 point night that included 4 assists, a steal and two rebounds. Slayton whose threes help spark the Falcons in the third finished with 25 points, nine assists, two steals and four boards. Richardson's career came to an end with a 10 points and a tam high eight rebounds. Harrell whose tough play under the boards helped limit Yates' second chance opportunities dropped in 14 points to go with eight boards.
The Falcons finished 26-6, their best showing in 38 years.