NH clips Austin’s wings, then falls to Warriors in OT
North Harrison’s boys basketball team proved its mettle against a pair of visiting Mid-Southern Conference foes last weekend, winning against a tough Austin team Friday night and then being clipped in overtime against an even tougher Scottsburg club Saturday.
Unfortunately, the loss by the Cougars dropped them to two setbacks in league play. With four M.S.C. teams ‘ which sport a combined 4-8 mark in conference action ‘ remaining on Brownstown’s schedule, it’s a near lock for the Braves to win their first M.S.C. championship since the 1990-1991 season.
In Friday’s war, North (6-2, 3-2) built a 22-point lead, 59-37, on an Austin club that featured 6-8 Division I prospect Jeremy Holland. Through three quarters, the Cougars ‘ and more specifically senior forward Cody Mitchell ‘ had held Holland, a junior, to just 12 points. He was held scoreless in the first period.
But as Holland heated up, Mitchell tired, Snodgrass said.
Austin’s star dropped in three three-pointers and had 19 points in the quarter (finishing with 31 points) to bring the Eagles to within one, 62-61, on a put-back with 3:10 left.
But that would be Austin’s last field goal until one second remained in the game.
North hit 10 free throws and Krieg Reed had a run-out lay-up to help outscore the visitors, 14-6, down the home stretch.
‘You can critique a ball game all you want, but the most important thing is that our kids withstood a rally from them and then expanded a lead. It tells us that we are doing the right things and that we are becoming a better ball team each time out,’ Snodgrass said.
Defensively, the Cougars did an remarkable job: the team held Austin without a field goal for the final 3:58 of the first period, the final 4:25 of the second, the final 2:12 of the third, and a stretch of 3:09 in the final quarter (before the basket with one second left).
Austin juniors Josh Coomer and Donnie Chambers scored all of their team’s points in the first quarter, which was a nip-and-tuck affair that had the visitors (6-6, 0-2) ahead, 11-9
Mitchell had one free throw and senior all-state candidate guard Blake Snodgrass had a deuce and followed that with a three with two seconds left to put North ahead at the first stop, 15-11.
Holland helped rally his troops to tie the game at 15, 17 and 20, but threes by Snodgrass and teammates Cory Beach and Jon Couts, as well as buckets by Mitchell, Reed and Zach Janes, were part of a 15-1 run that put North ahead at the intermission, 38-23.
The two clubs swapped baskets during the third period, which ended on another 9-3 run by the Cougars, who went ahead, 59-37.
That’s when Austin outscored the hosts 30-17 in the final eight minutes. The Eagles started the fourth quarter on an 18-1 run on buckets by Holland, Chambers and Coomer.
North Harrison ‘ paced by the 26 points from Snodgrass, a season-high 22 points (and 13 rebounds) by Mitchell, and 14 points from Reed ‘ didn’t score a field goal until a Snodgrass runner with 4:16 left in the period.
‘In the holiday tournament, (Mitchell) had two great games. He’s getting so much more aggressive taking the ball to the hole. That was a big key for us tonight,’ Snodgrass said.
The Cougars shot 27 of 59 from the floor, including a 15-29 clip in the first half. The hosts were 7-16 from three-point land, 15 of 24 from the line, and out-rebounded Austin, 42-31. The Eagles closed the gap on the glass in the final period, 12-7, with North winning the battle of the boards in the other three frames.
More importantly, the Cougars shined on offensive, pulling down 18 rebounds to Austin’s seven.
The Eagles shot 25 of 58 for the night, including 8-28 from beyond the arc. The club posted a 10-17 mark during the furious fourth-quarter rally and hit 9-12 free throws for the affair.
After Holland’s 31, Austin’s Chambers scored 12 and Coomer had 11.
Rounding out the winner’s scoring line was five points from Janes and three points each from Beach, Couts and Ty Rothrock.
One night later, the Cougars rallied from a six-point halftime deficit and a 57-52 shortfall heading into the final quarter to force an overtime.
In the extra set, Scottsburg outscored North by one to pull off the 77-76 victory.
Three players ‘ Dustin Marshall (25), Jacob White (17) and Shane Gibson (11) ‘ reached double figures for the winners, who improved to 8-2 on the season and 5-1 in conference play.
Marshall, a 5-10 junior guard, hit one of two free throws with 10 seconds left in overtime for the winning point.
‘It was like a sectional game,’ Coach Snodgrass said. ‘The atmosphere from the crowd was outstanding.
‘I thought we did a good job of attacking Scottsburg’s pressure defense. We made some physical and mental mistakes during the course of the game, but so did Scottsburg.
‘In any game you can go back and say, ‘What if we would have done this or that, or what if we would have made this shot or that free throw,’ but that’s high school basketball. I thought our team was well prepared for both games this past weekend, and we had a chance to win both games.’
Blake Snodgrass scored 26 points and Mitchell added an eye-popping 23 rebounds to go along with his 20 points.
Jon Shearer added a season-high 11 points, and Reed added seven.
With its conference championship hopes dashed, Snodgrass said his club will focus on tooling its skills for the Corydon Class 3A Sectional in March.
‘After our tough loss on Saturday night, I told the team from this point on we are preparing for the sectional through each and every game we play. We still want to finish as high up in the conference as we can, but our emphasis will be towards the sectional.
‘We are going to go with an eight-man rotation for the rest of the year with our ninth though 12th players on the roster filling in when we are in foul trouble or the game dictates we need a certain player for offense or defense,’ Snodgrass added. ‘Right now, we know our top seven, but the eighth position is something that may change, depending on who we play and what we need.’
North Harrison will have a busy, sectional-style week, with games at Perry Central (last night) and hosting Eastern on Friday and hosting Floyd Central on Saturday.