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County rivalry Part III put on hold for now

February 24, 2019 - 00:00
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The Hennessey-Cash-ion rubber match is off.

At least for now.

Hennessey advanced to its Class 2A regional championship game in Area III Thursday night by holding off Merritt 69-66 in Hinton.

The Eagles play Carnegie at 8 p.m. Saturday in Hinton for that regional crown and a spot in the area championship.

Carnegie got there by knocking off Cashion 44-38 in a regional semifinal in Burns Flat-Dill City.

That sent Cashion into the consolation bracket where it played Hobart in Hinton Friday afternoon (after press time) in an elimination game.

Now the only way the county and Three Rivers Conference foes can meet for a third time this season is if it happens at this week’s area tournament… or at state, should they qualify.

Eagles escape Merritt

Hennessey’s see-saw affair with Merritt didn’t completely go the Eagles’ way until Merritt’s 3-pointer at the buzzer missed its mark.

Hugo Rodriguez made two free throws with 1.5 seconds remaining to give Hennessey the 69-66 lead.

Prior to that, the Eagles missed five consecutive free throws in the fourth quarter while trying to maintain their lead.

“It wasn’t good,” said Hennessey coach Brady Page. “I promise we shoot them in practice.”

Hennessey was 3 of 8 overall from the charity stripe. All three makes were by Rodriguez, who led the team with 19 points.

Hennessey gave up a 20-11 run in the second quarter to fall behind 33-28.

A third quarter eruption, however, took care of that deficit…and then some.

Hennessey drained seven 3-pointers and scored 30 points in the frame to reclaim a 58-44 lead.

Bryan Villalobos, Angel Rodriguez and Cooper Fuksa made two 3-pointers apiece in the quarter. Hugo Rodriguez added another seven points.

But Merritt wouldn’t go away and clawed away at its deficit before the Eagles eventually held on.

Angel Rodriguez had 17 on the night while Villalobos and Fuksa had 14 apiece.

Hennessey’s ranked sixth in 2A, is 22-2 entering the regional final.

Cashion falls to Carnegie

Cashion also had a big third quarter against 10th-ranked Carnegie, but couldn’t turn it into a win when the offense sputtered in the fourth.

The Wildcats trailed 25-17 at halftime, but went on a 13-5 run to tie the game entering the final quarter.

However, they managed just six points over the final eight minutes in dropping their overall record to 16-9.

Alex Nabavi was the lone Wildcat to reach double figures as he scored 12 points.

Jacob Woody scored seven.

Jonah Jenkins and Ethan Suntken had six apiece.