CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – Arick Nicks sank a free throw with under 3 seconds left to give Huntington a 55-54 victory over Hurricane in the Class AAA championship game Saturday night.

Fifth-seeded Huntington (23-4) came from 11 points down and survived a frenzied finish that saw five late lead changes for its first title since the Highlanders won three straight from 2005-07.

Tavian Dunn-Martin led Huntington with 20 points and Nicks finished with 10.

Trey Dawson scored 15 points, J.T. Rogoszewski added 14 and Henry Sorsaia had 12 points for seventh-seeded Hurricane (21-7), which was playing in the championship game for the first time.

Rogoszewski’s layup gave Hurricane its largest lead, 34-23, with 5:39 left in the third quarter.

Huntington eventually stormed back with an 11-1 run, capped by two free throws from Nicks, for a 48-47 lead with 2:24 remaining in the game.

After three more lead changes, Dunn-Martin’s 3-pointer behind a screen with 47 seconds left for Huntington tied the score at 54.

After a timeout, Hurricane set up for the final shot, but Nicks stole the ball from Sorsaia and fed to Dunn-Martin, who hit a long 3-pointer with 4 seconds left. But amid the frantic pace and crowd noise, Huntington had called a timeout and the basket didn’t count.

When play resumed, Rogoszewski fouled Nicks with 2.5 seconds left. Nicks missed the first free throw and made the second.

Sorsaia launched a desperate heave that went wide of the basket at the final buzzer.

Coming off a draining, triple-overtime win over Hedgesville in the semifinals on Friday night, Hurricane came out sluggish in the championship game before pulling even with a more-rested Huntington team that suddenly went flat.

Class AA championship

Bluefield 64, Robert C. Byrd 39

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – Anthony Eades scored 14 of his 29 points in the first quarter and Bluefield used a hot start to beat Robert C. Byrd 64-39 Saturday for its second straight Class AA championship.

Bluefield scored the first 13 points of the game and didn’t give top-seeded Robert C. Byrd (24-1) a chance to become the first champion in West Virginia to go undefeated in 27 years.

Bluefield (25-2) entered the tournament with a collective chip on its shoulder.

The Beavers were the preseason favorite to repeat as champions but fell out of the top spot in The Associated Press poll in early January after a double-digit loss at Class AAA Greenbrier East. The Beavers fell at Westside in late January, then ran off 18 straight victories to finish the season.

Entering the tournament, though, the Beavers came in as the third seed.

They answered the skeptics with their play.

They beat Chapmanville by 29 points in the quarterfinals, ended second-seeded Poca’s 23-game winning streak in the semifinals and came out determined against Robert C. Byrd, which was ranked No. 1 over the final eight weeks of the regular season after overtaking Bluefield.

Bluefield led 25-4 after the first quarter, sinking 11 of 16 shots and making seven steals in the period. Robert C. Byrd, making its first finals appearance since 1996 in Class AAA, had 10 early turnovers and couldn’t recover.

Bluefield led 39-15 at halftime. Robert C. Byrd, which came from eight points down at halftime to beat Westside in the semifinals, had no such comeback this time.

Bluefield went into a lull in the third quarter. Robert C. Byrd scored the first seven points but got no closer than 12 the rest of the game. The Flying Eagles were held to a season low for points.

For the game, Robert C. Byrd shot just 24 percent (9 of 37) from the floor and committed 27 turnovers.

Corey Coppola added 12 points and 10 rebounds for Bluefield while Lykel Collier had 11 assists.

Robert C. Byrd’s Devonti Birch scored 14 points and Justin Noble had 13 points and 11 rebounds.


Wheeling Central 64,

Charleston Catholic 55, 2OT

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – Chase Harler scored seven of his 30 points in the second overtime to lift Wheeling Central to a 64-55 victory over Charleston Catholic for the Class A championship Saturday.

Top-seeded Wheeling Central (25-3) came from 12 points down to force overtime and relied on Harler to earn its first title since 2009 and the 11th in school history.

Third-seeded Charleston Catholic (21-7) couldn’t secure its second title in three years and a final one for retiring coach Bill McClanahan.

It marked the first Class A championship game to go to overtime since Wheeling Central beat Tucker County in 2004. It’s the fifth title for Mel Stephens as Wheeling Central’s head coach.

Nick George led Charleston Catholic with 20 points and Garret McCarty added 17.

Wheeling Central’s David Park had 10 points and 14 rebounds.

Wheeling Central ran off nine of the first 11 points in the second overtime. Harley opened the scoring in the second overtime with a three-point play and Wheeling Central extended the lead to as many as 10.

The Maroon Knights sealed the win by making seven free throws in the final two minutes.

A George 3-pointer was Charleston Catholic’s only field goal in the second overtime. The Irish shot 26 percent from the floor for the game.