Honaker absorbs 2nd loss
Honaker (56) Vs. George Wythe (65)
Feb 27, 2016
for the Daily Telegraph
BRISTOL, Va. — It’s two losses in a row for Honaker, after falling in the 1A West consolation contest at the Bearcat Den on the campus of Virginia High School on Saturday.
The Tigers played well in the second half, but they built too big of a hole to overcome in the first 16 minutes. The Maroons held on, fighting off a solid Honaker rally for a 65-56 victory.
Both teams will be on the road next week for the 1A boys state quarterfinals, with an opportunity to reach their ultimate goal of a state title.
The Tigers never had a lead the entire game. Trailing 9-5, Hartley Hilton scored on a drive to the basket as they closed within two with 4:25 to play in the first quarter. Honaker would then go over six minutes without scoring.
Tanner Robinette had an offensive rebound and a lay-in to cut the Maroon lead to 19-9 with 5:35 left in the first half.
The first half stats were ugly. The Tigers made only six shots, shot only 27 percent from the field and also had 10 turnovers. George Wythe only made 37 percent of their shots, but had 13 more attempts than Honaker and only one miscue the entire first half.
It resulted in a 35-20 advantage for the Maroons at intermission.
“It was a tale of two halves, in the two games we played here (losses to Eastside and GW),” Honaker coach Marcus Dunham said. “Teams came out with more intensity, more aggression and we didn’t answer.
“George Wythe punched us right in the mouth and we kind of rolled over. We can’t decide to start playing basketball in the second half, after digging a big hole. We didn’t act like we wanted to be here in the first half.”
To their credit, Honaker made it a game in the second half. After scoring 20 points the first two quarters, they put 18 points on the scoreboard in the third quarter.
The Tigers slowly fought back. When Blake Stinson hit a trey from the left corner and Tanner Robinette drove to the basket to score with defenders draped all over him, it was a five-point game, 48-43 with six minutes to play.
“I was proud of them,” Dunham said. “They could have just quit, but we waited too late to turn the light switch on. I’m very proud of my guys’ effort.
“Blake Stinson played his heart out, we believe he set a VHSL single season assist record. Tanner played extremely well, but Wythe did a good job defensively on us.”
The Maroons scored their next two possessions to go up by nine, but Robinette scored on the block and on a drive to the basket. Hilton swished the net with a 3 and the Tigers were down 52-50 with 3:10 to play. George Wythe slowed the attack and began to work the clock.
“We had some foul trouble,” GW coach Pat Burns said. “We wanted to take some time off the clock and we didn’t make as good a decision as I would like to see us make.”
The Maroons used a variety of defenses, always paying attention to Robinette and Brett Boyd the outside threat.
“Obviously we didn’t want number 4 (Boyd) to hit any 3’s,” commented Burns. “At the end of the game we weren’t guarding one of their players, the guy that was supposed to guard him was fronting Robinette.
“There’s no two ways about it, Robinette is a stud. He’s like a man playing with boys, he’s so physically strong. I was pleased with the effort we had against him.”
Robinette again put up tremendous numbers with 31 points, 17 rebounds and three blocks. Hilton added 10 points and five rebounds. Stinson totaled seven assists.
George Wythe closed out the win from the foul line, making 9-of-10 from the charity stripe the final two minutes. Malik Johnson powered the Maroons with 24 points and was 10-of-13 from the foul line.
“There was a lot of pride on the line,” Burns stated. “Honaker was ranked number one in the state most of the season because they were undefeated. We felt we were about as good as anyone in the state.
“We beat Eastside twice, I kept telling my kids if they can beat Honaker we can too. We think we’re a pretty good basketball team and hopefully we showed it tonight.”
George Wythe will face the East runner-up. Honaker will battle the East 1A champion.
“Bottom line, we have to play better defense,” remarked Dunham. “We have to be able to stop someone, that’s what is separating this year’s team from last years’ team. Sometimes we play defense and sometimes we just hold on. I have faith we can score against anyone; we just have to play defense.”

At the Bearcat Den
HONAKER (27-2)
Boyd 1 0-0 2, Hilton 3 0-0 7, Stinson 4 2-2 12, Coleman 0 1-2 1, Robinette 10 10-15 31, Sample 0 3-4 3, Eaton 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 16-23 56.
Dillon 1 1-1 3, Atwood 4 4-4 12, Johnson 6 10-13 24, Watson 2 0-0 5, Rosenbaum 2 2-3 6, Russell 4 0-1 9, Thompson 1 0-0 2, Hanley 2 0-0 4. Totals 22 17-22 65.
Honaker....................7 13 18 18 — 56
George Wythe........18 17 13 17 — 65
3-point goals – Honaker 4 (Hilton 1, Stinson 2, Robinette 1), George Wythe 4 (Russell 1, Johnson 2, Watson 1). Total fouls – Honaker 20, George Wythe 21. Fouled out - Hilton. Technicals – none.
Nightly Roundup
Game Scoreboard
Honaker 7 13 18 18 0 56
George Wythe 18 17 13 17 0 65
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