Huntington Leads NY To 105-96 Shootout Win Over PA

Huntington Leads NY To 105-96 Shootout Win Over PA

By: Sam Wilson | Olean Times Herald | March 27, 2023 | Photo courtesy Paul Burdick

PORTVILLE - Apparently, Jaiden Huntington didn't cool off a week after helping shoot his team to a state championship.

Last week, Huntington made eight 3-pointers in a 28-point Class C state championship-leading performance for Randolph. But he wasn't quite done dazzling high school hoops fans as he showed Sunday afternoon in the Big 30 Basketball Senior Classic at Portville Central School.

Huntington poured in a team-high 31 points, including seven 3-pointers, as New York won a 105-96 shootout over Pennsylvania.

"Number 23, that's all I've got to say," Pennsylvania coach Don Sestina said of the difference. "The Huntington kid is amazing, absolutely amazing. My hat's off to him."

Of his continued strong shooting, Huntington said he tried to "just stay in rhythm and play with intensity."

Huntington and Salamanca's Andy Herrick scored 18 points each in the first half, but New York still trailed 47-45 at the break. New York outscored Pennsy 60-49 in the second half.

Herrick finished with 22 points. Logan Dunbar (Wellsville) added 16 points and eight rebounds, Carson Conley (Randolph) had 11 points and Jacob Smith (Cuba-Rushford) had 10 points and two blocks. Thomas Bates (Olean) made seven assists with six boards while Anthony DeCapua (Allegany-Limestone) had eight points, six boards and four assists.

"As I said before the game, I knew they could shoot it. It was just all about the game's about them it was a lot of fun," New York coach Jim Insley said. "They're very talented. It was a really good group to be around. They all got here playing a certain way, for really good coaches in the Southern Tier, sharing the basketball and making extra passes and doing all the little things. I was hoping we would do that. You don't normally see that in an all-star game, but I was really proud of the way they did that. They did a great job, they came together nicely."

Austin Cousins (Otto-Eldred), Preston Alfieri (Smethport) and Camdyn Allison (Cameron County) scored 12 points each to lead Pennsylvania, with Cousins and Alfieri making four 3-pointers apiece. Adam Straub (Elk County Catholic) added 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Connor Finch (Sheffield) and Mike Jacobs (Elk County Catholic) had 10 points each, with Jacobs taking nine boards. Tanner Fox (St. Marys) made six assists.

Insley said his team didn't start the game with defensive specifics, but learned which Pennsy shooters key on.

"Just as the game went on you got to know who the shooters were and who weren't, so the last five minutes we really wanted to make sure the guard from Otto-Eldred (Cousins) didn't get off open looks," Insley said. "He took one shot in the last five minutes, with a hand up, and that was the difference."

The two teams traded substitutions every five minutes with automatic timeouts. New York's lineup was limited to eight with two players, Mitch Ward (Fillmore) and Kyle Stover (Pioneer), unavailable. Leading 92-88 entering the game's final five minutes, following the final substitution timeout, New York held Pennsy to three field goals (one 3) over the final stretch.

"We did get stops, and didn't give up any offensive rebounds," Insley, the former longtime Wellsville coach, said. "And at the other end, we were strong with the ball. Everybody seemed to make a play or make a shot when we needed one. We had a couple runs in the first half, Logan helped us on a run, Andy had a nice little run for us, and those runs go a long way."

Sestina, a longtime coach most recently at Cameron County, knew New York's seniors could shoot, including taller forwards like Dunbar, Huntington and Herrick.

"The plan was we tried to do some run and jump defense as much as we could against them," he said. Just hedging off of screens and trying to do the best we could with that."

Of the opportunity to coach in the Big 30 game, Sestina called it an "awesome experience and truly an honor to coach these kids. A great group of kids."

For New York's all-stars, the win came down to not approaching the game like an all-star showcase.

"I know that's what all-star games are for, but it's tough for me to think that way," Herrick said of showcasing his ability. "I just wanted to win, wanted to help my teammates out, the things that I've always done."

Huntington said of Insley, "He told us, let's not play like a regular all-star game. Let's play like an actual game: let's play defense, rebound and do all the things we need to do to win."

Huntington and Conley got to play with some fellow seniors, many of whom were longtime rivals or opponents for the Cardinals.

"It was cool playing with these guys," he said. "We've been playing against each other in all sports coming up through since we were young and it's cool to play with all these kids that are so talented around our area."

But Herrick still enjoyed the game while taking it seriously.

"It was fun, especially because I know most of them, we played against each other," he said. "It was a good experience, it was good to get one more game in before my high school career is over and end it on a win."