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Dragons turn back Huntington; Van Horn grabs 500th rebound

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Good teams seem to bring out the best in the Fairland Dragons.
Just ask the defending West Virginia Class 3A state champion Huntington Highlanders.
The Dragons turned in a strong defensive effort and got a huge game from 6-foot-8 senior center Kollin Van Horn as they beat the Highlanders 58-45 on Thursday.
“This is probably the best team we’ve played. They’re very athletic,” said Dragons’ coach Nathan Speed.
“We played really well defensively. It was the same as last year’s game, very intense from the beginning and the scoring slow on both parts. They were good defensively, too. It was like a tournament game.”
Van Horn pulled down his 500th career rebound. Van Horn needed 15 rebounds and got his 15th of the game in the fourth quarter.
Besides his rebounds, he scored 19 points, blocked four shots and had two steals in a strong all-around performance.
Isaiah Howell added 15 points and eight rebounds and Keedrick Cunningham had nine points and six rebounds for the unbeaten Dragons (6-0).
Mikal Dawson scored 14 points and Amari Smith 10 for Huntington (2-1).
Huntington took a 9-7 lead as Andrew Shull hit a 3-poienrt and Bryce Damons scored four of his six points. Van Horn had four points for Fairland.
The pace picked up in the second quarter as Fairland outscored Huntington 17-15 to tie the game at the half, 24-all.
Van Horn had seven points including a 3-pointer while Ty Staten scored four of his six points. Smith hit a 3-pointer and scored five points and Tanner Stevens got four points for the Highlanders.
“In the second quarter, we got into the flow a little better,” said Speed. “But the defense was the difference. We held them to 45 points at their place. That speaks well of our defense.”
The third quarter proved to be the difference as the Dragons outscored the Highlanders 16-6 to take a 40-30 lead.
Howell hit a 3-pointer as he scored five points, Luke Thomas also hit a trifecta and Van Horn scored four more points.
Dawson scored four of Huntington’s six points.
Howell got eight points in the fourth quarter and Van Horn and Cunningham each went 2-of-2 at the foul line to seal the outcome.
Fairland will now play in the Round Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Dec. 26-28.
The first game is against Cox Mills which is ranked 14th in the nation.
Fairland    7     17    16    18    =    58
Huntington    9    15    6    15    =    45
FAIRLAND (6-0): Isaiah Howell 6 1 0-1 15, Ty Staten 2 0 2-4 6, Luke Thomas 2 1 0-0 7, Kollin Van Horn 7 1 2-2 19, Keedrick Cunningham 3 0 3-5 9, Chase Fisher 0 0 0-0 0, Joel Lambiotte 1 0 0-0 2, Matt Mondlak 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 24-54 7-12 58. 3-pt goals: 3-12. Rebounds: 38 (Van Horn 15, Howell 8, Cunningham 6, Staten 5). Assists: 9 (Cunningham 3, Thomas 3, Staten 2). Steals: 4 (Van Horn 2). Fouls: 8. Fouled out: None.
HUNTINGTON (2-1): Jordan Hayes 0 0 0-0 0, Breyce Damons 0 0 0-0 0, Kris Brown 0 0 0-0 0, Andrew Shull 3 1 0-0 9, Mikal Dawson 5 1 1-3 14, Tanner Stevens 1 0 2-2 4, Amari Smith 2 2 0-0 10, Darnell Wright 1 0 0-2 2. Totals: 18-64 3-7 45. 3-pt goals: 3-17. Rebounds: 34 (Hayes 9, Smith 6, Damons 5). Assists: 4 (Shull 2). Fouls: 12. Fouled out: Smith.