CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The University Hawks ended their season as they fell in a fourth quarter thriller to Huntington, 66-63.
It was all about the “U” in the first quarter, however. University outscored Huntington 18-9 in the first quarter to take an early lead.
Huntington made a comeback in the second quarter but still trailed 32-25 at the halftime break.
Ryan Niceler and Blake Barkley each put up 11 points in the first half to secure that lead for the Hawks.
In the third quarter, it seemed the Hawks had almost had it in the bag. Huntington crept close but no closer than a couple of points. The Hawks entered the third quarter on top 47-37.
But the fourth quarter was all over the place. The Hawks kept the lead at first, but with 3:34 in the game, the Highlanders tied the game at 55.
Hawks got a bucket in after that, but the Highlanders came back and tied it up again at 57, but this time they went on to take the lead.
With just 9.4 seconds on the clock, Huntington kept the lead at 64-61. Two Hawks’ free throws, with one made and one missed, put the score at 65-63.
But a late foul, and one made Huntington foul shot put the Highlanders up 66-63 as time expired.
Brendan Hoffman led the Highlanders with 25 points.
Three Hawks, TT Brooks (16 pts), Blake Barkley (13 pts) and Ryan Niceler (19 pts) scored in double-figures.
Huntington will take on Morgantown in the Class-AAAA state semifinal on Friday at 5:30 p.m.