Huntington North holds off Cole Richmond, DeKalb to end NE8 losing streak

Huntington North’s Zach Hubartt drives against the defense of DeKalb’s Cole Richmond during a January 30 game.

As Huntington North coach Craig Teagle watched his team’s 12-point halftime lead evaporate in the third quarter into a tie game with DeKalb, he was intrigued to see how his team would react.

“DeKalb has done this all year where people get a lead on it but they make a run and storm back,” Teagle said. “They can make shots and play hard for 32 minutes.”

Knowing what the Barons do, Teagle even told his squad at half a run would come.

But after two straight league losses in which the Vikings could not make the plays late, Huntington North was able to to break through, hit some big shots, get some defensive stops and hold off DeKalb 68-60 on Saturday afternoon at North Arena.

“I think we are getting to the point where he can handle (tight) games like this, but we need to keep working in practice,” said junior Zach Hubartt, who led four Vikings in double figures with 22 points. “This one was big though.”

With the game in the balance in the third quarter, a key sequence developed. Following a blocked shot by DeKalb’s Connor Penrod, the Barons were hit with a technical foul in what was likely a call based on foul language dropped. It put Sam Thompson to the line for a few free throws, which allowed the seniorto find his shooting touch and hit a couple big shots down the stretch.

Huntington North’s Sam Thompson is defended by DeKalb’s Nolan Nack during a January 30 game.

DeKalb stayed in the game on the back of Cole Richmond, who hit five threes and led all scorers with 28 points. Nolan Nack was also deadly from range, hitting four three-pointers. The two teams combined to hit 22 shots from beyond the arc.

“We couldn’t find an answer (for Richmond),” Teagle said. “Our goal was to stop (Connor Penrod and Richmond), we did an OK job on Penrod and not a very good job on Richmond. But a lot of that is a credit to him, he did a great job.”

The win was a much-needed boost for the Vikings, who had dropped close games to Bellmont (32-30) and Leo (44-37) over the last week. Huntington North is now 3-2 in the NE8 and 7-3 overall.

“You want to be above .500 in this league, it is really good,” Teagle said. “I think it is Leo at the top and then New Haven, but the rest of us are exactly alike and every one is going to be a battle.”

Austin Oswalt finished with 18 points and Will Hotchkiss and Thompson 10 each for Huntington North. The Vikings will host Carroll (12-2) next Thursday.

DeKalb (5-7) dropped its third straight game and will play at North Side (7-8) on Monday.

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