By Jerry Fekete Banner Correspondent
January 26, 2014
MAN — The Man High School boys’ basketball team nearly pulled off an upset win over the Class A No. 1-ranked Huntington St. Joe Irish with a heartbreaking 62-60 loss at the Man Memorial Fieldhouse on Friday night.
Man dropped to 5-6 on the season with the loss.
St. Joe, coached by former Logan High School All-Stater Ross Scaggs, improved to 14-0.
The Irish got all they could handle from the improved Hillbillies, which was led in scoring by freshman Daniel Buchanon’s 19 points and 13 rebounds. Sophomore guard John Thomas Keffer followed with 17 points and nine assists.
Kenny Joe Adkins also reached double digits in scoring for Man with 10 points. Jake Adkins had eight points and seven rebounds while Gabby Brown had six points. Man was 10-for-13 from the free throw line.
St. Joe was led by Brian Conaty and Payne Meadows with 20 points each while Keith Clemons added 16. Travis McNeil and Anthony Rabel had three points each. St. Joe was 13-for-23 at the line.
The Hillbillies remained close throughout the game.
Buchanon hit a shot to start the fourth quarter as Man led 44-43. Keffer then followed with an NBA 3 to push the Billies’ lead to 47-43 at the 7:13 mark. Keffer hit another 3-ball later to give Man a five-point lead at 50-45 with 6:02 to go.
The Irish answered with two 3-pointers of their own — one each by Conaty and Clemons — as they would grab the lead back later at 51-50 at the 5:01 mark.
Kenny Joe Adkins hit on fastbreak layup to give Man a 52-51 lead at 4:49.
Buchanon hit one of two free throws to knot the game up at 53-53 with 3:40 to play in the game.
Conaty then hit a big 3-pointer to give the Irish the lead for good at 56-53 with 2:36 on the clock.
Clemons was then fouled on a shot behind the arc and hit two of three charity tosses to push the St Joe lead to five points at 58-53 with 2:18, completing a 5-0 mini run.
Keffer then hit two free throws to cut the deficit to 58-55 with 2:09 to play. St. Joe then started milking the clock. Rabel then scored on an offensive stickback to push the Irish lead back to five points at 60-55 with 1:25 to play.
Buchanon then hit a big shot in the paint to make it 59-57 with 70 ticks left.
Clemons then hit one of two free throws to make it 61-57 with 34 seconds remaining.
Keffer then hit one of two charity tosses to cut the deficit to 61-58 with 25 seconds in the game.
Buchanon then got a key basket to make it a one-point margin at 61-60 with 15 ticks on the clock.
Conaty hit one of two free throws to make it 62-60 with 15 seconds left.
Man then missed on its final attempt as the Irish came away with the 62-60 victory.
The Billies had jumped out to an early 6-2 lead after a layup by Kenny Joe Adkins. Jake Adkins then got an offensive rebound and stickback later in the period to give Man a slim 10-9 lead with 3:09 showing on the clock.
Conaty got a tip-in to give the Irish a 15-12 advantage but the Billies would go on a 4-0 run in the final minute of play on baskets by Kenny Joe Adkins and Buchanon as Man took a 16-15 lead after one period of play.
Keffer hit a runner in the lane to give MHS a 22-16 lead with 5:38 to go until halftime. Keffer added another fast break layup to make it 26-22 at the two-minute mark of the second stanza.
Jake Adkins hit 12-foot jumper to give the Billies a 28-25 lead with 50 ticks on the clock but the Irish would go on a 4-0 run late on baskets by Meadows and Conaty to take a slim 29-28 lead into the locker room.
The third quarter was dead even as both teams would score 14 points each and saw four lead changes.
Man took a 36-33 lead on Buchanon’s putback with 5:01 to go.
Meadows then hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 36-36 with 4:31 to play in the third quarter.
Brown came off the Man bench and sparked them with two back-to-back three-point plays to give the Billies a slim 42-41 lead at the 3:10 mark.
Clemons hit one of two free throws with 23 seconds left as St. Joe ould take a 43-42 advantage heading into the final eight minutes of play.
Man was scheduled to travel to Belfry (Ky.) on Saturday night but the game was already cancelled in the morning hours due to the snowstorm which was expected to dump an additional three inches of snow across the region and more in the higher elevations.
The Billies have a makeup game on Wednesday night at Tug Valley, then host Phelps (Ky.) next Friday before hosting River View on Feb. 4.
* Also postponed on Saturday night was the Logan High School boys’ basketball team’s home game with Greater Beckley Christian.