Fullcourt trap defense? Didn't matter. Fullcourt man-to-man defense?

By Tom Hardesty Record-Courier staff writer Published:

Fullcourt trap defense? Didn't matter.

Fullcourt man-to-man defense? Didn't matter.

Box-and-one defense? Didn't matter.

Whatever the Kent Roosevelt Rough Riders threw at Southeast junior Eddie Hunt, it just didn't matter.

Because Hunt was in 'The Zone.' He poured in shots from all distances and all angles Tuesday night, scoring a career-high 37 points in leading the visiting Pirates to an 87-80 overtime victory over the Rough Riders in a non-conference game.

The win improved Southeast to 2-0 on the season while the Rough Riders fell to 0-2.

The 6-foot Hunt started hot and stayed that way the entire game, hitting 10-of-17 shots from 3-point range, several with a Rough Rider right in his face. But it didn't matter.

"We knew right off the bat he could shoot the ball," said Roosevelt coach Tom Larkin. "He got into a rhythm in the second quarter there, and it just carried over into the second half. When he got his hands on the ball, he was feeling it.

"We made some adjustments in the second half. We wanted to keep the ball out of his hands, and we put David (Mentlow) on him, and for the most part, David did a fantastic job."

Even with the cat-quick and athletic Mentlow on Hunt, it didn't matter. The ball continued to find nothing but net.

"There were times when (Hunt's) feet weren't set, he was off balance, David was right in his face, and I figured we had him guarded pretty well," said Larkin. "And he kept draining them anyway."

For Southeast coach Bob Dunn, who also got 22 points from junior Nick Dillon, Hunt's emergence couldn't have come at a better time. The Pirates were without standout Jimmy Eatinger, who sprained an ankle last Friday against Waterloo, and were in need of someone to pick up the scoring slack.

Hunt happily obliged.

"We told the kids before the game that somebody had to pick it up in his absence," said Dunn of Eatinger. "And the kids did a good job. Eddie's just an amazing shooter. Tonight they went box-and-one on him in the second half, and he still was able to knock down some big shots."

The game was competitive and entertaining throughout, with players from both teams coming up with big shot after big shot. There were six ties and 17 lead changes in the contest, and the biggest lead of the night by either team was just seven points.

Back-to-back 3-pointers by Dillon helped stake Southeast to an early 8-2 lead, but the Rough Riders battled back behind six first-quarter points from senior Matt Smith (23 points on the night) to lead 17-14 after one.

Hunt buried two 3-pointers early in the second period to bring Southeast within 21-20, a 3-point goal by Smith put Roosevelt up 24-22, then two more 3-point shots by Hunt gave Southeast the lead at 28-27.

Hunt's fifth 3-pointer of the second period put the Pirates up 33-29. A 3-point shot by junior Thad Bzomowski brought Roosevelt within 35-34, and the teams went into halftime tied 38-38.

A 3-pointer by junior Ryan Canale gave the Pirates a 41-40 lead early in the third, but a layup by senior Paul Lutz (15 points) gave the lead back to the Rough Riders and started a 10-2 run that resulted in a 50-43 advantage with 3:05 left in the third.

Hunt (who else?) ended the spree with a 3-pointer to make it 50-46, then he drained another 3-point goal at the buzzer to give the lead back to Southeast, 55-54, heading into the fourth.

With the Pirates still leading at 61-60, two Lutz jumpers, sandwiched around a Smith 3-pointer, gave the Rough Riders a 67-61 lead with four minutes to play, and Southeast appeared to be in trouble.

"We had the momentum there," said Larkin.

Hunt, however, was still on fire.

First he nailed a 3-pointer to draw Southeast within 67-64. He then converted a three-point play to make it 69-67. Finally, he sank yet another 3-point shot to tie the game at 72-72 with 1:35 left.

Lutz came right back with a 3-point goal of his own to give Roosevelt a 75-72 edge with 1:15 to go. Unfazed, Hunt sank another 3-pointer to tie it again, this time at 75-75 with 55 seconds left, forcing overtime.

After junior Troy Burrell started the extra session with a layup for a 77-75 Roosevelt lead, the Pirates scored the next eight points _ six on free throws _ for an 83-77 lead with just 37 seconds to go.

The Rough Riders pulled within 83-80 when junior Matt Kane (17 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists) hit three free throws with 28 seconds remaining. But Dillon salted the Southeast win by sinking four foul shots of his own in the final 26 seconds.

"This win is very satisfying," said Dunn. "No. 1, it's satisfying because Kent Roosevelt is a Division I team, and No. 2 because we were able to win without Jimmy. This is the type of win that can propel you not to just a good season, but a great season."

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