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Sports Article
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Huff Leads Panthers Back to Final Four
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            Checking into the game early in the third quarter with his team trailing by 15 points, Honor Huff received a message from Perkiomen School head coach Thomas Baudinet. "He whispered in my ear, 'Now is your time,'" Huff said. "I knew I had

Joe Johnston, left, and Philip Byriel, right, surround a 

Germantown Academy player during Perkiomen School's

state tournament opener.

to take the game over."

            Huff helped rally the Panthers to a 70-60 overtime victory over Germantown Academy in the opening round of the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association state tournament on Friday, Feb. 14. The guard delivered a game-high 22 points.

            The following day, Perkiomen School's sixth man again played a leading role in a 66-35 second round victory over Mercersburg Academy. Huff, a 5-foot-8 junior from Brooklyn, finished with 23 points. His flurry of eight consecutive points during the second quarter helped secure an insurmountable lead.

            "Honor can really shoot," said Steve Payne, the Panthers senior point guard.

            The pair of home victories propelled Perkiomen School, the No. 4 seeded into the tournament's Final Four for the second time in three seasons. The team will take on No. 1 seeded Westtown School at 6 p.m. on Friday to the Montgomery County Community College in Whitpain Township.

            "This is what we've talked about all year," Baudinet said. "Hopefully we can take care of business and win a state title."

            Against the No. 13 seeded Patriots, Huff scored 16 points in the second half, including three 3-pointers, to rally the Panthers from a 43-28 third-quarter deficit. His 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter capped an 18-3 run that forged a 46-46 tie early in the fourth quarter.

            "This team has resilience and grit," Huff said. "When things got desperate, we came together and did what was necessary to get the win."

            His deflection of a shot by Germantown Academy guard Jake Hsu in the final seconds of the fourth quarter preserved a 57-57 tie and forced overtime.

            "As soon as we got there, I knew we were going to take it," said Huff, a Brooklyn native.

            Steve Payne finished with 17 points for the No. 4 seeded Panthers, who overcame a 43-28 deficit with approximately six minutes left in regulation. Gilbert Otoo scored 11 points. Josh Odunowo, and Will Johnston each delivered eight points.

            "Germantown Academy played great," Baudinet said. "They gave us all they could handle."

            Huff has provided an invaluable offensive contribution as Perkiomen School's sixth man. He has been the team's leading scorer for most of the season, according to Baudinet.

            "We expect Honor to score," the coach said.

            Early on against Germantown Academy, Huff was the only player on his team to hit multiple shots from the field in the first half. He finished with six points in the initial 16 minutes, and the Panthers trailed 25-15 at halftime.

            Perkiomen School missed 14 of 16 3-point attempts in the first half. According to Huff, the team played tentatively, passing up quality shot attempts and forcing others.

            "There are a lot of nerves when you're the higher seed in a game like this," Baudinet said.

            Casey Traina's 3-pointer from the top of the key put the No. 13 seeded Patriots ahead 43-28 late in the third quarter. However, two free throws by Huff and a layup by Sam Carrao trimmed the lead to 43-32. The coach described the four points as crucial to his team's comeback.

            The Panthers rallied from a 57-51 deficit with 1:42 remining in the fourth quarter to force overtime. Payne drew a key offensive charge during the flurry. Huff hit two of three foul shots with 1:30 remaining. Otoo converted an offensive layup into a basket with 43 seconds left. Payne hit a pair of free throws with 15.5 seconds remaining to cap the outburst.

            Perkiomen School opened the four-minute overtime period on a 7-0 run. Otoo drained a six-foot jumper to open the scoring. Johnston converted a driving lineup and Otoo hit a 3-point shot from the top of the key. Huff's steal set up the score, which staked the team to an insurmountable 64-57 advantage.

            "Down 15 points, the guys went into survival mode," said Baudinet, adding that the team implemented a minor adjustment to its zone offense in the fourth quarter. "The nerves became desperation, and they started to make plays."

            On Saturday, in the quarterfinal round, the No. 5 seeded Blue Storm led 7-5 midway through the first quarter. However, Perkiomen School responded with a 25-3 run. Huff converted three straight baskets, including two three pointers, during the outburst. Odunowo's layup, off an assist from Otoo, staked the team to a 30-10 advantage late in the second quarter.

            Philip Byriel, a 6-foot-10 junior post player, registered 11 points. Payne, senior from Lower Merion, added nine points. The Panthers developed a game plan to keep the ball in the hands of Payne and Huff. According to Payne, the staff didn't think Mercersburg could keep up with the guards on a pick and roll.






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