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MIKE LARSON

Girls take center stage

Huron boys’ and girls’ basketball teams clinch SEC titles
By Mike Larson
A2 Journal

CHAMPS!
Like it has for much of the season, the defense took center stage for the Ann Arbor Huron River Rats Friday night against Pioneer. Playing on the road against their biggest rival, the River Rats came out with their signature intenWith sity, winning the video game in a blowout, online 60-29. “It was a great defensive effort,” Huron coach Waleed Samaha said. “Our kids played with great intensity.” The intensity was especially apparent in the first quarter, as the River Rats forced Pioneer to make 10 turnovers en route to a 16-2 lead at the end of the quarter.

March 3, 2011

Blessed is the man who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.” That quote from Alexander Pope rang in my head Friday night as I watched one of the ugliest halves of basketball I had seen all season. I should have listened to the sage advice of Pope, an eighteenth-century English poet and satirist. My expectations were way too high. But who could blame me? On Friday night Pioneer hosted Huron and I, along with the rest of the people in attendance, came in expecting a good game. In the end, I was disappointed because of those high expectations. Huron won the game easily, holding Pioneer under 30 points, taking the contest and the Southeastern Conference title, 60-29. Don’t get me wrong, I fully expected Huron to win the game. But I also expected Pioneer to actually show up. With a win over Huron, the Pioneers could have actually had a shot to win or share the conference title. Sure, it was a tiny, minuscule, ant-sized chance that would have had to have Huron lose its last two games of the regular season, but it was still a chance. Instead, at halftime of the game, I sat on the sidelines watching as Pioneer senior James Kelly stomped off the floor in disgust. I’d be disgusted too if I were him. Pioneer trailed 28-9 at the half, and Kelly scored eight of those nine points. The team also missed 7-of-8 free throws in the half, and only scored two points in the first quarter. “It was ugly,” Pioneer head
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Things only got worse for Pioneer in the second quarter, as the River Rats extended their lead to 28-9 by halftime. “We just couldn’t break their press,” Pioneer coach Rex Stanczak said. “That’s the worst we’ve played against their defense in three years.” After the break, the River Rats came out and continued to dominate, stretching the score to 42-15 by the end of the fourth. Huron coasted easily to victory in the fourth quarter, eventually winning the game 60-29. Huron’s A.J. Mathew led all scorers with 17 points, but the biggest cheer of the night came late in the game when senior manager Dallas Williams entered the game.
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Photo by Jonathan Knight/A2 JOURNAL

We’re more than just a sports section

Huron girls outlast rivals to clinch title
By Mike Larson
A2 Journal

Huron’s Jeff Hugan (left) is surrounded by Pioneer defenders Friday, while A.J. Mathew (above) tries to get the ball to the basket. Huron defeated Pioneer handily, 60-29.

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The Ann Arbor Huron girls’ basketball team came into the Ann Arbor Pioneer gym on Friday and did what no one else has been able to do all season. The River Rats defeated Pioneer on their home floor, winning 63-48. The win was especially important as it game the River Rats the Southeastern Conference Red Division championship. “It feels good to be a champion,” Huron coach Steve Vinson said. “This is not an easy place to win and Pioneer is a great team, but tonight, we just came out ready.” Pioneer jumped out to an early lead, going on a 9-0 run in the first quarter, but a hot streak by Huron’s Kelcy Barott put Huron in the lead before the half. Barott scored eight points in the final two and a half minutes of the second quarter to

give Huron a 34-28 lead at the break. “I felt really good tonight,” Barott said. “My teammates were getting me the ball and I was getting some open looks.” Barott struck again later in the game.

“It feels good to be a champion. This is not an easy place to win and Pioneer is a great team, but tonight, we just came out ready.”
STEVE VINSON Huron girls’ basketball coach

With Huron leading 40-38 with about a minute left in the third quarter, Barott scored 11 straight points for Huron to give the River Rats a 51-40 lead. “I think she closed the game out for us with that run in the third,” Vinson said of Barott. “She was struggling at first, but I just told her to focus and to

keep shooting.” In the fourth quarter the Pioneers tried desperately to get back into the game, but it just couldn’t be done. The River Rats did a good job of containing Pioneer’s Kamilah Carter, who has consistently been one of the area’s top scores. Carter only scored four points in the game against Huron, and her first didn’t come until halfway through the third quarter. “Kamilah is a tough player for anyone to guard,” Vinson said. “So we had to really focus on her as a team. I thought we did a good job, because when she gets going, she can really change the course of a game. As a coach, you don’t want to see her catch fire.” With the loss, Pioneer’s record fell to 17-3. “We just have to get right back to it,” Pioneer coach Crystal Westfield said. “This
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Photo by Jonathan Knight/A2 JOURNAL

Huron’s Sara Golidy goes up for a shot Friday against Huron. The River Rats won the game 63-48.

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