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Cougars’ cold-shooting costly versus Creek

Cougars’ cold-shooting costly versus Creek
Cougars’ cold-shooting costly versus Creek
North Harrison senior Cory Beach skies for a shot over Tyler Robinson of Silver Creek in the first half of Friday night's Mid-Southern Conference game in Ramsey. The Cougars hit just five field goals after the first period and wound up falling, 59-41. (Photo by Alan Stewart)

From the very beginning of Friday night’s Mid-Southern Conference battle against Silver Creek, there wasn’t much that went right for North Harrison’s boys basketball team.
Three minutes into the game at Ramsey, Cougars’ starting forward Zach Janes went down with a severe ankle sprain and never returned. He likely won’t be ready to play again until next month.
Then, after North tied the game at 13, the visiting Dragons outscored the hosts 8-2 to the first stop and never looked back in a 59-41 blowout.
The Cougars (2-1, 1-1) wound up hitting five of the 11 shots in the opening period but could only manage five baskets in the remaining three quarters.
North hit a field-goal dry spell from the 6:43 mark of the third period on a triple by Cory Beach, to the 6:48 mark of the fourth, when Zack Sullivan hit a deuce.
When Beach’s trey fell through the net, it brought the Cougars within three, 29-26. By the time Sullivan hit his basket, North was down by 10.
In a game where every field goal attempt was crucial, a 10-point lead may as well have been 20 or 30.
‘Obviously, I was disappointed we lost, but I was more disappointed in the way we lost,’ saia North coach Rick Snodgress. ‘Our conversation in the locker room centered on what we need to learn from our first loss of the season.
‘I said at the beginning of the season this would be a year of peaks and valleys, and (the game) was one of those valleys,’ he said. ‘We did not play with the same type of intensity level we played we played with the week before at Corydon, and Silver Creek took advantage of that.’
Senior guard Kyle Barnett paced the Dragons (3-2, 2-1 M.S.C.) with 24 points, including 10 in both the first and fourth quarters.
‘I thought Barnett had a great game,’ Snodgrass said. ‘We did not do a good job of closing out on him the other night, and he did a good job of knocking down the open shot.
‘Again, I believe this goes back to our mental approach in the game and not working as hard as we should on defense.’
Silver Creek shot well, sans the second period, where neither club could find the basket. The Dragons were 8-12 in the first, 6-10 in the third and closed out the match with 7-9 in the final frame. Overall, the visitors were 23-38 (61 percent) from the floor and 5-10 beyond the arc.
Meanwhile, North struggled at 38 percent (10-38) from the field and 2-17 on three-pointers.
‘Silver Creek did a very good job of pressuring the ball on our shooters. We did not set good screens on Friday night, and our shooters did not do a good job of setting up their man and coming off screens,’ Snodgrass said.
‘We also rushed a few shots and did not have our body squared up to the basket when we shot the ball. We do count on the three-point shot as a major weapon in our offensive attack, but we have to get better feeding the post and develop a solid inside/outside attack.’
The visitors roared out to a 10-5 edge in the opening minutes, but the Cougars (2-1, 1-1) rallied on a deuce by Josh Kidd and an old-fashioned three by Derek Rainbolt to tie the contest at 13-all with 2:26 left.
Silver Creek, which opened by hitting its first four attempts from the floor, rattled off an 8-2 run to the first stop on buckets by Barnett, Michael Combs, Josh Kight and Tyler Robinson.
The two clubs were shooting very well from the floor to that point: North hit 5-11 while the Creekers were 8-12. That changed drastically in the second frame, where they combined on only three of 16.
Sullivan had a three-point play midway through the quarter, which North Harrison won, 7-6. The hosts trailed at the half, 27-22.
After the intermission, North’s Troy Eveslage and Silver Creek’s Tyler Robinson swapped baskets, and Beach sank what would be the last of his team’s field goals for almost eight minutes.
Only free throws by Rainbolt and Couts kept the hosts relatively close as Silver Creek drove away to the third-quarter buzzer, 42-31.
North’s slide continued into the final frame, where Sullivan scored a three-point play between baskets by Creek’s Barnett and Kight.
After Sullivan’s bucket at the 6:48 mark, the Cougars would not hit another field goal for another three minutes until a steal and lay-in by Beach with 3:39 showing.
By then, however, North was staring at a 54-38 disadvantage, and the game was effectively out of reach.
Beach paced the hosts with 11 points, followed by eight-point nights by Sullivan and Rainbolt. Kidd came through with six points as well.
If there was a bright spot, the Cougars pulled down 38 rebounds to Silver Creek’s 25.
‘I believe Zach Sullivan and Josh Kidd are getting better each week, and Zach Janes will be a major factor in the post when he gets back,’ Snodgrass said.
‘We need for Derek Harbeson and Chris Rawert to continue to improve in practice to give us more depth in our post position, and we need Derek Rainbolt to make better decisions at our point guard position.’
The Cougars jump from the frying pan into the fire Friday night as they’ll host defending Class 2A state runner-up Brownstown Central in another M.S.C. war.
The Braves are 2-1 and coming off a big, 82-77 victory over Scottsburg.
‘Our schedule does not get any easier. Brownstown is the only undefeated team left in our conference, and they have a great ball team,’ Snodgrass said.
‘I told our players after the game the other night that Coach Cooper and myself would love to trade them places and play against the kind of teams we are going to play this year. This is what high school basketball is all about. You have love the challenge of playing the teams we are facing this year and not shy away from those challenges.’