Even with 26 combined victories to date this season, Fike and Hunt entered Tuesday’s girls basketball cross-county rivalry showdown in the middle of the pack in the competitive Big East Conference standings.
That fact brought a must-win intangible into play in the final game for both clubs in the first half of the 10-game Big East schedule.
Thanks to a strong early flurry – and some nerves-of-steel play down the stretch – host Fike was able to hold off the Warriors 53-49 in the initial meeting of the season between the long-time foes at Harvey Reid Court.
“This win was big – we wanted to end the first half (of the league slate) on the positive side,” said Fike head coach Kim Howard, whose club is now 13-4 overall and in third place in the Big East with a 3-2 mark. “We lost a tough game against Nash Central (Monday) and had to come back and play another good team (Tuesday). It just says a lot about the Big East. It is one of the stronger conferences in the area and it has been for quite awhile.”
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Like Fike, Hunt had a chance to secure the No. 3 spot in the league Tuesday, but the Warriors (14-4, 2-3) fell behind early and never recovered – though Hunt stayed close enough to make things interest in the closing minutes.
The Big East 3A standings are also competitive on the boys side, and Fike took a key step toward remaining in contention in the league with a 63-58 decision over the Warriors.
The Golden Demons (13-5, 3-2) led by four points at halftime but took charge with a 21-15 spurt in the third stanza. Fike’s cushion grew to as many as 12 points in the fourth period before Hunt (4-14, 1-4) embarked on a late flurry that would come up short.
“I told our guys that if we still wanted to win the conference, we had to win this game,” said Fike head coach Brent Secrest. “It still might not be good enough because (Big East leader) Northern Nash is pretty good. But at least we still have a chance.”