Jay Lunce probably would have been a bit happier had his team not turned the ball over 28 times Tuesday night when it hooked up against Perry.
The Howard boys head coach also would have been able to enjoy it a bit more if his team had not missed 10 of its first 13 free throws in the fourth quarter.
But Lunce’s team still managed to come up with a 61-48 region win to improve to 14-6 overall and 10-4 in GHSA Region 2-AAA.
Brandon Glover led the way for the Huskies with 16 points, while Devonte Tharpe added 12.
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“It’s been our story all year,” Lunce said. “We just have not been able to close people out when we have the chance to, and it happened again (Tuesday). “I think it has a lot to do with experience. These guys made the playoffs for the first time last year, and it takes more than one year to know how to close out games. Turnovers and free throws are something that will hurt us down the road if we can’t fix the problem. With that being said, we got a region win against a good region opponent.”
Howard dominated early, grabbing a 16-6 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Huskies stretched the lead to 31-17 at the break by forcing 18 Perry turnovers and getting balanced scoring. Tharpe gave the Huskies a big boost off the bench with six points, while post player Davonte Dumas also had six.
With Glover scoring Howard’s first nine points in the third quarter, the Huskies upped their lead to 42-24 before Perry responded. The Panthers outscored the Huskies 19-7 during the next seven minutes, and when Chris Allen made two free throws, they found themselves trailing by only six at 49-43 with four minutes left in the game. Howard got the lead back to 10 on baskets by Tharpe and Dumas, however, and the Panthers were never able to get it closer than 10 again.
“We thought we were in control of the game, but give Perry credit, they found a way to get back in the game,” said Dumas, who had 10 points to go with 10 rebounds. “We know we had to have this game at home, and we know we can make a run at the end of the year and get a food seeding in the region tournament. We have a lot of seniors on this team, and everyone here thinks we can make some noise. This was a good way to start.”
Perry was led by Deonte Solomon with nine points. The Panthers drop to 8-12 overall and 3-10 in the region.
The girls game was much the same as the Huskies won 61-43. Chelsea Stuckey led the way with 17 points, while Tierra Jenkins added 10. Howard improves to 13-7 overall and 10-4 in the region.
Perry was led by Maya Wade with 16 points and Jasmine Davis added 13. The loss drops Perry to 7-13 and 4-9 in the region.