Season comes to swift end for Viking cagers

Luke Pulver (left), a senior on the Huntington North High School boys’ basketball team, works against Muncie Central defender Kolby Mallory during a semifinal game in the Wayne Sectional on Friday, March 3. The Vikings lost, 44-36, ending their season.
Luke Pulver (left), a senior on the Huntington North High School boys’ basketball team, works against Muncie Central defender Kolby Mallory during a semifinal game in the Wayne Sectional on Friday, March 3. The Vikings lost, 44-36, ending their season. Photo by Steve Clark.

The season came to a swift end for the Huntington North High School boys’ basketball team with a 44-36 loss to Muncie Central in the semifinals of the Wayne Sectional on Friday, March 3.

Poor second-half play doomed the Vikings in their postseason opener. After building a 10-7 lead in the first quarter and a 20-15 advantage by halftime, Coach Craig Teagle’s squad got upended in the second half. The Bearcats opened the third quarter with a 13-0 run, seizing the lead at 28-20. Though Huntington North scored the last four points of the frame to cut the deficit in half, 28-24, Muncie Central countered by tallying the first seven points of the fourth quarter to take its biggest lead of the game at 35-24. The Vikings’ efforts to play catch-up after that were stymied by the Bearcats’ prioritization of clock consumption over scoring, which forced Huntington North to foul and send Muncie Central to the line, where it missed only once in 13 second-half attempts to secure the win.

The Vikings, 17-8, shot 31.4 percent for the game on 11 of 35 marksmanship, which included a 5 of 21 showing in the second half for 23.8 percent. They added 12 points in 20 attempts at the charity stripe for 60 percent.

Hunter Hollowell was the lone Huntington North player to score in double figures. The senior tallied 16 points to cap his memorable tenure with the Vikings, which saw him climb up to fifth place on the team’s all-time scoring list with 1,193 points.

Hollowell also corralled eight rebounds for the game to help give Huntington North a 28-21 edge on the backboards.

Muncie Central, 10-14, got a game-high 23 points from Jamel Barnes.

The Bearcats converted 12 of 30 field goal attempts for 40 percent and 15 of 18 free throw tries for 83.3 percent.

With the win, Muncie Central advanced to the sectional title game on Saturday, March 4, against Homestead.