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|Hounds made history against Leake|
As a longtime high school boys basketball coach in northwest Louisiana, David Boydstun was used to the playoff system where 32 teams competed in one class and if you lose you are done.
So when he came out of retirement in 2005 to coach at Huntington, he was more than pleased to hear there would be a district tournament with four teams advancing to South State, where four teams advanced to the state tournament, where two teams advanced to the Overall Tournament.
"I enjoyed that," Boydstun said. "We got to play and play and play and the more we played the better it was. And there was not as much pressure on us."
Especially at Huntington, where Trinity and Tensas ruled the district, and teams like Claiborne and Riverdale ruled the South.
But the addition of Ricky Dunbar and Antonio Jordan to a sound Hound team that included Zack Brown, Stan Hazlip and Trey Corbett,helped Boydstun lead the Hounds to the Class A state finals in his first year where they fell to West Memphis. Huntington lost to Madison-Ridgeland in the Overall.
"We were told that Class A teams didn't stand a chance in overall," Boydstun said.
Until 2006-07, that is.
"My first year we had 10 players and I would take five out and put five in," Boydstun said. "The first group wasn't a lot better than the second group. One night I would start one group and the next night start the other group. We had a real good year. And the kids got along on and off the court. They spent a lot of time together."
The Hounds defeated Tallulah to win the top seed out of their district.
The Hounds defeated Trinity 65-40 in the South A State championship game. Trinity was led by current New England Patriot Stevan Ridley.
"Playing Trinity was a lot of fun," Boydstun said. "It was a huge rivalry. I just happened to walk into it, I didn't realize how big it was. We never lost to a district team that year and I think the turning point against Trinity was when we played at their place and went to a half-court trap in the second half. They just brought the ball right to us in the corner and we were able to get turnovers and opened a big lead over them."
Huntington finished second at the State Tournament, falling to West Memphis, Ark., in the championship game in Columbus, Ms.
Huntington reached the finals by beating Immanuel Christian, Briarfield and Riverdale to reach the finals.
"I felt good about the tournament and we played well up until the championship game," Boydstun said. "West Memphis had four good players and a little point guard who went on to play college ball."
Huntington lost to CMI at State in Boydstun's first year.
"We talked about being more confident the second year and being more prepared," Boydstun said. "It helped being in State the year before."
The Hounds qualified for Overall at Mississippi College in Clinton.
The Hounds surprised Class AAAA East Rankin, forcing 23 turnovers, in their first game at Overall, winning 53-50. East Rankin was coached by former Huntington coach Michael McAnally.
That set up a tough contest against Leake, the Class AA runner-up.Huntington led Leake 24-18 after one quarter and 39-37 at halftime.
"We ran the full court press and got a lead until the end," said Boydstun, whose team led 61-52 going into the final period.
The Hounds led 77-76 when Dunbar was fouled with one second remaining.
Dunbar made the first free throw and Boydstun told him to intentionally miss the second free throw so they wouldn't be able to set up a final play.
But Leake girls coach came down to the boys coach and, according to Boydstun, shared some strategy.
"Every time Dunbar shot the second free throw they stepped over the line," Boydstun said. "It would be negated unless he made it. I finally just told him to make it."
Leake then made a long pass, but Dunbar blocked the shot to end the game and give the Hounds another upset win.
Dunbar led Huntington with 22 points, hitting 8 of 11 shots from the field. Brant Badley added 15, while Jordan scored 14 and had nine rebounds. Corbett added 13, while Hazlip finished with 11.
Huntington lost to powerhouse Madison-Ridgeland in the Overall semifinals. MRA beat Parklane in the Overall finals.
"We led MRA for a quarter, but they were just too much," Boydstun said. "But we were excited about what we accomplished. It was a great year and a great group of young men. I had a great time."
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