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|Lady Hounds upset PCS|
Penny Moak won 243 basketball games over 17 years at Huntington School.
So you would think one of her most memorable wins would be getting to the state tournament or even in the state tournament.
Sure, those were special, but Moak remembers a win at a district tournament at Trinity in early February of 2000 from a team which finished the year at 10-20. A team starting four freshmen and one sophomore.
"We weren't supposed to win," Moak said. "We had a rough season. I moved all the freshmen up to varsity. We had Emily Hazlip, Sarah Ashmore, Tessa Taunton and Tiffany Ferguson.
Sophomores were JoLee Hughes and Lindsay Wagoner Edwards.
"We were glad when the freshmen came up," Edwards said. "That's what needed to be done. It was a fun group and absolutely loved playing with that group."
Huntington was seeded third in the South section behind Tensas Academy with Robin Rae Burns, Beth Waters and Shelby Alford and Trinity, with Sara Greer, Lauren Tanner, Becky Bass and Sarah Kirby.
But first Huntington had to defeat River Oaks in the single elimination tournament, which they did by a 35-33.
River Oaks had beaten Huntington twice during the regular season.
The winner of the Presbyterian Christian-Huntington game would advance to South State. Many figured that to be Presbyterian Christian, considered one of the top Class A teams in the state.
The Lady Hound freshmen were part of a junior varsity team which won district and finished 27-2.
But even with the success, moving up to varsity was still a big step for the freshmen.
"I remember being scared to death," said Sarah Ashmore Ketchings. "I refused at first, but my dad (Mitch) told me I had no cholce. But it was worth it."
"It was pretty intimidating," Hazlip said. "But it helped that we had been playing together for a while."
Without those four, Huntington had six players on varsity.
"We lost our first five games," Moak said. "But after Christmas we started clicking. We won five or six in a row. We then lost to Trinity. But these girls didn't give up. They kept working."
"It was very tough in the beginning because we weren't used to losing," Ketchings said. "It wasn't fun then. But we began meshing with the other girls and kept improving. We did not have any pressure on us because nobody expected us to do anything."
"I told them it didn't matter what our record was, the district tournament was the only thing that mattered as far as getting to South State," Moak said.
Which was a big challenge considering River Oaks and Presbyterian Christian stood in the way.
"We had a huge district back then with 12 teams and you didn't play everybody in the district," Moak said.
Ketchings said the atmosphere was intense for the district tournament at Trinity.
"It was a little gym and the atmosphere was something else," she said. "It was fun."
"I remember the kids being a little stressed when we walked in the gym against Presbyterian Christian," Moak said. "They had an air about them when they walked on the court against us. They thought we were a bunch of nobodies. We weren't supposed to win this game. We fell behind 8-2, but came back and went up 20-16 at halftime. I was telling them then, 'We can do this.'"
Huntington led 36-30 after three quarters.
"It was an exciting game," Moak said. "I kept looking at the clock thinking, 'I can't believe it.' I was wishing the time would hurry up and run out."
PCS began fouling in the final quarter, but the Lady Hounds hit 7-of-8 free throws in the fourth quarter.
"The girls decided we just weren't going to lose this game," Moak said.
Hazlip finished with 20 points, while Tessa Taunton added 15 and Ashmore nine.
Michelle Gundy led PCS with 22.
"I remember thinking how unbelievable that was at the end of the game," Ketchings said. "We were so excited. I really miss that."
Huntington fell to Trinity 62-51 in the semifinals. Trinity defeated Huntington by 30 points early in the season. The Lady Hounds fell to Briarfield 63-58 in overtime in the consolation game to finish fourth out of 12 teams.
Huntington lost to Riverdale in the first round of the Class A state tournament in Minden. Riverdale would go on to win the state tournament.
Pick A Game is a feature focusing on a past contest.
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