ASHTON, W.Va. — At the end of it all, the most important thing for the Hannan boys basketball team was that all of its seniors were present on Senior Night.
Pretty much everything else Tuesday evening went the way of the White Falcons.
Visiting Wahama stormed out to a 10-0 lead less than three minutes into regulation and never looked back during a 93-70 victory over the Wildcats in a non-conference matchup of Mason County squads.
HHS had four seniors — Brad Fannin, Elijah Sowards, Tyler Jenkins and Daniel Black — in uniform for Tuesday night’s contest, while the fifth senior member of the team — Austin Akers — was also in attendance as he recovers from surgery on a malignant brain tumor discovered just a few weeks ago.
The quintet was honored before the game for their years of dedicated service to the program, and a majority of the evening was spent raising money for the Akers family and their incurred expenses — a night also referred to as Austin’s Army.
In fact, officials from both the junior varsity game and varsity contest donated their game checks to the cause — and Wahama High School even made a check donation to the noble cause as well.
Then, the White Falcons went to work — as the guests kept themselves on a 100-point pace through each of the first three quarters of play, which also included a 30-point lead by halftime and a 34-point advantage headed into the finale.
The Wildcats — who trailed by as many as 39 points in the fourth period — did manage to outscore the WHS bench 26-15 down the stretch to wrap up the 23-point outcome. Wahama also claimed a season sweep of HHS following an 83-45 win at home back on December 28.
It was tough night — basketball-wise — for HHS coach Larry Maynard, but the fifth-year mentor was proud of his team not giving up until the final buzzer sounded. The Wildcats did, after all, outscore Wahama 48-41 after the intermission.
Maynard was also appreciative of his Mason County neighbors to the north.
“Wahama just shot the lights out and they were up 30 at the half,” Maynard said. “We kept battling and ultimately won the second half, but Wahama pretty much put it on us tonight.
“I do want to thank Wahama, though, for what they did for Austin’s family tonight. We are playing for Austin and praying for Austin. That was a noble gesture on behalf of that community.”
After falling behind by double digits early on, Paul Holley finally got Hannan on the board with a short jumper at the 5:10 mark. The Wildcats managed to get their deficit down to seven (16-9) with 2:54 left in the opening stanza, but never came closer the rest of the way.
The White Falcons closed the final 2:43 of the period with a 12-6 surge, allowing the guests to secure a 28-15 edge after eight minutes of play.
Wahama followed by scoring the first 12 points of the second canto, capped by an old-fashioned three-point play by Austin Bradley with 5:15 left in the half.
Hannan answered with consecutive baskets from Brad Fannin and Daniel Black to pull back to within 40-19 at the 3:21 mark, but the guests closed the half on a 12-3 charge to secure a 52-22 cushion at the intermission.
The Wildcats closed to within 27 points (52-25) just 26 seconds into the third canto, but Wahama followed with a 26-19 surge to take a commanding 78-44 lead into the finale. Wahama’s biggest lead of the night came at the 7:09 mark of the fourth, as a trifecta from Hunter Bradley gave the guests an 83-44 cushion.
The White Falcons gradually emptied their bench, and Hannan closed the final 6:48 of regulation with a 26-10 charge to round out the 23-point decision.
The early intensity was about as solid as WHS coach Mike Wolfe could possibly ask from his team, and he noted afterward how difficult they are to beat when the White Falcons find that kind of offensive rhythm.
“We’ve had runs like that all year long in both wins and losses, but we are really trying to get the guys to learn how to maintain those kinds of runs,” Wolfe said. “When we maintain runs like that over the course of a game, we can beat anybody on our schedule. Now we just to take this momentum and go forward with it as we get closer to the tournament.”
Wahama made 13 trifectas and had nine different players reach the scoring column, including four in double figures. The guests were also 20-of-29 at the free throw line for 69 percent.
Hunter Bradley led WHS with a game-high 28 points, followed by Hunter Rose with 22 markers. Wyatt Zuspan and Trenton Gibbs each added 10 points to the winning cause, while Jacob Ortiz chipped in seven markers.
Dakota Sisk contributed six points for the White Falcons, while Derek Hysell and Michael Hendricks respectively added five and three markers. Brent Larck rounded out the winning tally with two points.
Hannan made nine three-pointers and had nine players reach the scoring column, including three in double figures. HHS also went 5-of-10 at the charity stripe for 50 percent.
Paul Holley paced the Wildcats with 19 points, 17 of which came in the second half. Ty Paige was next with 12 points, followed by Daniel Black with 11 points and Tyler Jenkins with nine markers.
Brad Fannin added six points, Kade McCoy had five points, and the duo of Tyler Burns and Elijah Sowards each contributed three markers. Paul White rounded out the scoring with two markers.