Vikings claim first sectional hoop title in 18 years

The Huntington North High School boys’ basketball team won the Wayne Sectional on Saturday, March 2. The Vikings beat the host Wayne Generals, 51-40. Team members are (kneeling from left) managers Cassidy Sandlin, Liberty Tabor, Breanna Cook and Karli Cannici; and (standing from left) assistant coaches Jim Ryan and Sam Ryan, Deven Newcomb, Assistant Coach Ben Ryan, Keegan Bartrom, Jordan Hollowell, Brett Kaylor, Zach Daugherty, Hank Pulver, Sawyer Stoltz, Garrett Trout, Mitchell Gerber, Adam Zahn, Trey Williams, Samuel Thompson, Aidan Hosler, Assistant Coach Matt Hinds, Head Coach Craig Teagle and Assistant Coach Brant Brown. Photo by Steve Clark.
The Huntington North High School boys’ basketball team won the Wayne Sectional on Saturday, March 2. The Vikings beat the host Wayne Generals, 51-40. Team members are (kneeling from left) managers Cassidy Sandlin, Liberty Tabor, Breanna Cook and Karli Cannici; and (standing from left) assistant coaches Jim Ryan and Sam Ryan, Deven Newcomb, Assistant Coach Ben Ryan, Keegan Bartrom, Jordan Hollowell, Brett Kaylor, Zach Daugherty, Hank Pulver, Sawyer Stoltz, Garrett Trout, Mitchell Gerber, Adam Zahn, Trey Williams, Samuel Thompson, Aidan Hosler, Assistant Coach Matt Hinds, Head Coach Craig Teagle and Assistant Coach Brant Brown. Photo by Steve Clark. Photo by Steve Clark.

Behind four double-digit scoring efforts, the Huntington North High School boys’ basketball team triumphed over Wayne, 51-40, in the championship game of the Wayne Sectional on Saturday, March 2.

The Vikings, 22-4, got 13 points from senior Zach Daugherty, 12 apiece from senior Trey Williams and junior Jordan Hollowell and 11 from senior Sawyer Stoltz. With those four executing on offense, Huntington North had all the firepower it needed to dispatch the host Generals and capture its first sectional title since the 2000-01 season.

Huntington North built a 12-8 lead on Wayne in the first quarter and expanded its advantage to 23-12 by the break. With the Generals vigorously defending the court’s interior, the Vikings were forced to look outside for points. Daugherty and Williams were happy to oblige, knocking down a combined 5 of 7 shots from three-point range to account for the balance of Huntington North’s first-half offensive output.

After the Vikings’ first two sectional contests saw them connect on just 6 of 19 three-point attempts for 31.5 percent, Huntington North Head Coach Craig Teagle said he felt his team was due for a good showing from long range.

“We thought it would come back,” said Teagle of the three-point shot. “We shoot about 45 percent from the field … from three. So, we thought that we’d get some looks and we did, thank goodness.

“Sometimes you’re fortunate. Shots went in tonight.”

The third quarter saw Wayne gain some ground, outscoring Huntington North 12-8 to trim the deficit to single digits at 31-24. While the Generals kept plugging away in the final frame, staying within striking distance of Teagle’s squad for the majority of the period, the visitors utilized the free throw line to ultimately put the game away.

No Viking came up bigger at the charity stripe than Hollowell. The junior took 10 freebie shots in the second stanza and made every one of them.

“He’s a really good free throw shooter,” said Teagle. “Does a great job at the free-throw line. Really proud of him, because he had a role where he was playing 12-14 minutes a game, but tonight with Hank (Pulver) in foul trouble, we needed a little bit more and (he) stepped up, did a great job.”

For the game, Huntington North shot 13 of 25 from the field for 52 percent, which was highlighted by an 8 of 13 effort from three-point land for 61.5 percent. At the line, the Vikings converted 17 of 22 attempts for 77.3 percent.
Daugherty was an offensive facilitator for Huntington North, dishing out five assists. Williams and Stoltz each dispensed two assists.

Wayne, 15-10, was paced by senior Craig Young, who tallied 14 points.

The Generals hit 15 of 42 field goal attempts for 35.7 percent and 7 of 9 freebie tries for 77.8 percent.

In addition to scoring in double figures for Huntington North, Stoltz was active on the glass, pulling down a game-high seven rebounds. Williams and Hollowell each grabbed four caroms for the Vikings, who finished with a 22-19 edge on the backboards.

After coming up short in the sectional title game last season, a 40-39 loss to Homestead, Stoltz was elated to have helped Huntington North bounce back and claim the program’s first sectional crown in 18 seasons.

“It feels amazing,” he said. “We’ve kind of went through a slump in the program; we haven’t won since 2001. Kind of got that monkey off our back and finally finished it and got a championship.”

Teagle echoed those sentiments.

“Huntington was really starving for another sectional championship in basketball,” he said. “We’re glad to give it to them.”

The win was also personally significant to Teagle, marking the 400th of his coaching career.

“It’s great,” he said. “You know, to get a sectional championship is the most important thing. If you throw 400 on top, that’s great.

“But it’s all about the kids. Just enjoy coaching, enjoy being around them. It kind of keeps you young.”

Huntington North now advances to the Logansport Regional. The Vikings will take on Zionsville, 20-5, on Saturday, March 9, at noon. The winner of that game will then play either Carmel or Northrop for the regional title at 8 p.m.