Pulver bomb puts Vikings into hoop sectional championship game

Huntington North guard Joe Stoffel charges into the lane against a pair of Fort Wayne Wayne defenders on Friday night, March 2, in the HNHS Sectional semifinal. The Vikes won on a buzzer-beater to advance to the championship game Saturday night, March 3, against Homestead.
Huntington North guard Joe Stoffel charges into the lane against a pair of Fort Wayne Wayne defenders on Friday night, March 2, in the HNHS Sectional semifinal. The Vikes won on a buzzer-beater to advance to the championship game Saturday night, March 3, against Homestead. Photo by Steve Clark.

Hank Pulver drilled a three-pointer at the buzzer to lift the Huntington North High School boys’ varsity basketball team to a 56-55 win over Fort Wayne Wayne on Friday night, March 2, and put the Vikings into the championship game of the Huntington North Sectional tonight, Saturday, March 3, against Homestead.

Homestead, 17-7, advanced to the championship game by slipping past Fort Wayne South Side, 65-63, in the other semifinal game.

The Vikings,19-6, came back from 12 points down in the third quarter to defeat the Generals, who finish at 16-7 on the season. Wayne took a 13-11 lead after the first frame and expanded the margin to 26-22 by halftime. They then put up the first eight points of the third quarter to lead 34-22, and finished the quarter up 45-35.

The Vikings, however, determined to secure the program’s first postseason win since the 2011-12 season, came back on the Generals, whittling their lead down to a single point, 54-53, with 23 seconds remaining.

The Vikings’ attempt, though, at tallying the go-ahead basket went up in smoke when Wayne forced a turnover, then drew a foul with 4.1 seconds left. The foul sent the Generals’ Craig Young to the charity stripe, but he made only one of the two freebie tries to give Huntington North life. Junior Zach Daugherty then inbounded the ball to Pulver, who drove up the court and fired the game-winner at the 11th hour.

Pulver’s big shot was his third trey of the game as he finished with a game-high 19 points for HNHS, 19-6. Sawyer Stoltz added 15 points and Zach Daugherty tossed in 10.

Pulver hit 8 of 11 shots from the field as HNHS finished 20 of 32 from the field for 62.5 percent. The Vikes hit 6 of 13 from three-point land for 46.2 percent and added 10 of 11 from the free-throw line for 90.9 percent.

Wayne was led by Craig Young with 16 points and Kylon Jarreau and Shaquan Sanders with 10 points apiece.

The Generals hit 20 of 39 from the field for 51.3 percent and were 11 of 16 from the charity stripe for 68.8 percent.

Mitch Geller grabbed five rebounds to lead both teams. Daugherty had a game-high three assists.