Howard has not been a poster child for good fortune.
Only once this season have the Huskies lost by more than double figures. Otherwise, they’re in the game all the way, but they can’t quite get over the hump.
Veterans was the latest tease for Howard.
The Warhawks survived, as many Howard opponents do, and hit seven free throws in eight tries in the final three minutes for a 64-61 win Friday night in boys GHSA Region 2-AAAA action.
Veterans head coach Chris Kothe was about as tired as his players afterward.
“The first half, not well at all,” he said of the night’s execution. “We had no energy whatsoever. I don’t know why we wouldn’t. We can’t take anything for granted.”
The Huskies dug a big hole in the third quarter, a 41-36 lead midway through turning into a 48-43 deficit entering the fourth. After a poor start to the fourth, they started creeping back.
A pair of 3-pointers on consecutive possessions by Jordan Jedneski got Howard within a basket, and the Huskies finally tied it at 59 on Marcus Cuyler’s 15-footer that got the roll with 1:27 left.
But the Warhawks got 2-for-2 trips at the line from Shazier Lawson and Dathan Boyd around a Howard turnover for a four-point lead. Chris Quainter’s basket low made a two-point game, and Boyd hit another free throw with 17.3 seconds left.
The Huskies worked the ball around and got Jedneski a good look from the top, but his shot barely missed, and a desperation heave on the long rebound missed.
“Our kids keep fighting,” Howard head coach Jay Lunce said. “That’s the fifth game we’ve lost by three points or less. And it’s just killing us.”
Lawson led Veterans with 20 while Nick Burnett added 18 and Bryan Hollis 15. Chris Quainter topped Howard with 14, while Jedneski chipped in 13, Cuyler 11 and Jaylon Williams 10.
“We have a size advantage night in and night out,” said Kothe, whose team made three times as many free throws as Howard shot (18-6). “We try to pound the ball inside. That’s our first option.”
The girls game went to the Warhawks in a different fashion, with top-ranked Veterans rolling to a 58-29 win to remain perfect this season.
Veterans’ girls had another strong game, charging to an 18-4 first-quarter lead and holding Howard in single digits until the 2:51 mark of the second quarter.
The Huskies made a run in the third, but the Warhawks maintained control.
Point guard Kya Cochran led the Warhawks with 14, with Anna Nicholson adding 11 and Khalya owns 10. Junior standout Erica Moore’s 14 paced Howard.
“I thought we played really well,” said Veterans head coach Nicole Miranda, whose team had 12 steals. “I challenged them to play on the road in the region that it does not matter what your record is, their record. You have to show up and play every single game.
“I thought we came out with a lot of defensive intensity, and we got after them on the boards.”