A clutch shot by East Hardy’s Aden Funkhouser with 11 seconds remaining was enough to thwart the Tigers’ attack as the Cougars survive 80-76 on Valentine’s Day.
Union controlled the first half, but the Cougars had the edge in the third period and fought through six ties in the fourth period to claim the victory.
“Our defense wasn’t very good tonight. We played way too much with our hands and not enough with our feet. Credit to the Reed boys, because they did a really good job getting to the rim forcing us to defend that and we didn’t do a good job at it,” East Hardy Coach Chris Hahn remarked.
“It was one of those nights we couldn’t do anything right. We were playing against the game. I thought our effort was there, but mentally our execution wasn’t there and that caught up with us giving up 76 points. What was going through my mind was that I was really glad Aden [Funkhouser] lifts weights, because he is a big strong kid and he is going to win that battle since he is stronger. That’s the one thing we have on most teams is our kids are stronger and the work they put in the weight room really showed out here tonight. Sometimes it puts you in trouble, because you are used to being physical. When the game is called a little more closely, it is harder to adjust. Sometimes it is to our detriment. In a play like that, Aden did a really good job physically driving in and finishing with contact and making the foul shot to help win the game. You don’t want to play not to lose, you want to play to win.”
East Hardy (8-9) held a 59-57 edge entering the final stanza, but the Tigers (7-11) equalized the contest a minute into it with a pair of free throws by Colton Reed.
Union’s Blaine Sisler snatched a defensive rebound, but East Hardy’s Brett Tharp stole it during a trap and Jesse Dove netted a putback to regain the lead 61-59 at 6:31.
Union lost the ball out of bounds and Trenton Reed committed his fourth foul leading to one free throw made by Tharp.
Colton Reed sliced into the paint for a layup to pull the Tigers within one with 5:50 remaining.
The Cougars answered with a 3-pointer by Dove 13 seconds later to extend the advantage to 65-61.