By Jason Pugh • email@example.com
Huntington’s cast of characters has changed much in the last 12 months, but one thing remains the same -- the Raiders still own the Thanksgiving Classic.
JaRod Farmer, one of two returning starters from last year’s Class 5A semifinalists, made sure of that. Farmer poured in 31 points as the Raiders captured their third straight Thanksgiving Classic title with a 71-61 win over Red River on Wednesday night at BTW.
“When it’s time to win, I’m going to do what I have to do,” Farmer said.
In this case, it was get to the basket -- repeatedly.
Farmer spent the majority of his night scoring on fast break layups and challenging Red River’s 6-foot-5 Cordarius Johnson inside.
The left-handed Farmer was able to score by going over and around Johnson, twisting in mid-air to find the right angle.
Farmer credited going against Huntington’s big men -- 6-8 Javaria Jones and 6-5 Michael Qualls -- in practice.
“You’re not going to find too many guys taller than them,” Farmer said. “It helps a lot.”
Jones helped a lot Wednesday night. The lanky junior continually blocked or altered Red River’s shots, forcing the Bulldogs to work more from the perimeter.
Normally, Red River would have loved that scenario, but the Bulldogs (6-2) never could find their outside shot Wednesday.
“We live by the 3 and die by the 3,” Red River coach Keith Johnson said. “We took a few bad 3s and shot ourselves out of it.”
After losing three Division I signees and eight seniors total, Huntington (4-5) knew it would face plenty of challenges this season and the Bulldogs were one of them.
Red River took a three-point lead into halftime but the Raiders quickly erased it. Farmer and Quentin Lemay combined to score the first seven points of the second half and the Raiders’ lead eventually grew to eight on a Qualls three-point play with 2:32 to play in the third.
“We’re grateful for it,” Huntington coach Mack Jones said. “We were patient and didn’t try to score 30 points in a quarter. I told them sometimes you’re not going to score 50 points and you’ll win a game. We just tried to control the pace with our defense.”
Courtesy of Shreveport Times