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NH shows heart, Lions break it

NH shows heart, Lions break it
NH shows heart, Lions break it
North Harrison junior Zach Janes (33) sails over the heads of Salem defenders Johnny Bowling (3) and Travis Misamore in the second half of Saturday night's overtime thriller in Ramsey. (Photo by Alan Stewart)

Dorothy Gale could have saved herself a lot of time and trouble in her search for a heart for her friend, the Tin Man.
The lass didn’t need to go to the Emerald City to see the Wizard, but to Ramsey, where tickers are made abnormally large.
North Harrison’s varsity boys basketball team trailed 10-0 at the start and stared at a deficit that stretched to as many as 21 points late in the third quarter. North’s moxie became abundantly clear, however, as the club fought back to send the Mid-Southern Conference game against Salem into overtime.
After an early three by the Lions’ leading scorer that night, Matt Atkins, the Cougars rallied again on a free throw from Troy Eveslage and an old-fashioned three-point play to take a 78-77 lead.
It was their first of the ball game.
Chad Nelson hit a field goal for the visitors and Derek Rainbolt swooshed two free throws to swap leads, but North’s two points would be the last they’d score over the final 48.5 seconds.
Nelson hit four free throws and Travis Misamore nailed two to give the Lions a hard-fought, 85-80 win.
The war was peppered with 82 free throws and 58 fouls, including a pair of Salem technicals.
‘It was wild,’ North coach Rick Snodgrass said. ‘The kids responded to our challenge at halftime. We believe we’re a better club right now than at the start of the year, no question about it. We’re getting a better inside-outside mix. Our young kids are getting stronger. They’re making less mistakes.’
Salem skipper Hank Weedin was understandably upset with what he thought was less than a fair shake from the officials.
Five Lions fouled out, and Weedin got one of the technical fouls.
At the line, North attempted 49 shots and sank 35. Salem was 24 of 33 at the stripe. The Cougars had just eight fewer infractions, 24-32.
‘To be honest ‘ I’ve never said this before ‘ but it was the officiating,’ Weedin said. ‘There’s no doubt. I may get myself in trouble, but I don’t care. It was totally one-sided after that first start. I don’t know if they were trying to even the game back up or what happened. It totally changed and was inconsistent. The bottom line, that was it.
‘We had a better team tonight. We’re not better all the time, but our guys came out focused and played, and it about got taken away from us.’
The Lions (7-5, 2-2 M.S.C.) roared out to that 10-0 lead in the first three minutes. Rainbolt finally got the Cougars (4-8, 2-5) on the board with a bucket inside.
For the rest of the opening period, Salem let loose a three-point barrage that powered the team to a 30-11 lead at the first stop.
‘We have not come out focused right at the start mentally,’ Snodgrass said. ‘Salem did. They came out extremely enthusiastic and emotional, and they were right-on at the start. Our kids did not do that.’
The second quarter was split into two runs, with North controlling early to pull to 33-22 on an 11-3 spurt, while Salem bounced back with a 13-2 run over the final 2:12.
At the intermission, the Lions led by 18, 44-26.
‘At halftime, I put one word on the board. I said, ‘This is not about X and O’s anymore. This is about how much heart you really have.’ Can we sustain heart, hustle and desire two nights in a row, or three times in a week with the sectional,’ ‘ Snodgrass asked his club.
Beach and Janes sparked their club with a couple of early buckets in the third quarter to snap back to a 49-37 margin. Atkins scored back-to-back triples, Johnny Bowling hit a free throw, and Chris Amick hit from downtown to balloon the lead back to 20. After a charity toss by Beach, who had a game-high 26 points, Salem’s Nelson hit two free throws to set the difference at a game-high 21 points with 1:52 left in the third period.
The Cougars pulled to 63-46 heading into the final eight minutes.
Salem and North traded shots from the free throw line to start the fourth, with Atkins hitting a soft jumper to give his club a 19-point advantage with just seven minutes left.
That’s when North’s comeback began.
The Cougars slowly chipped away at the deficit and trailed by 16 with 3:52 on the clock.
Then Beach, Janes and Josh Kidd went on a tear. North allowed Salem only three field goal attempts in the final period.
Beach hit a free throw and had a steal and lay-in to get the margin to single digits, 73-62. Janes and Beach had back-to-back three-point plays to make it a five-point affair.
Beach’s three-point play was part of a seven-point trip for the Cougars, as Salem’s Nelson was hit with a technical after he fouled Beach on an inbounds play, and Weedin was slapped with a technical of his own for arguing the call.
North went from trailing 73-65 to 73-72 with nary a second coming off the clock.
The Cougars had a shot to take the lead, but Beach was hit with a charging call and Salem took possession.
A few seconds later, Nelson was fouled and gavei the Lions a two-point lead.
After a North Harrison turnover, things looked bleak for the home team.
Rainbolt came to the rescue for his club, however, as he worked a two-man trap with Janes on Salem senior Terry Griffus. Rainbolt picked Griffus’ pocket and raced to the other end for a game-tying lay-up with 10.4 left in regulation.
After another Salem turnover, the Cougars had a chance to win but a three-ball attempt by Kidd bounced on the rim twice before falling away.
The nail-biter went into extra basketball, and Salem hung on for the victory on free throws from Misamore and Nelson.
‘I thought our guys played extremely hard,’ Weedin said. ‘I thought their guys played extremely hard. The fourth quarter, they picked up the defense, but we weren’t able to get to basket. We were stuck on 73 for a long time. You have to give credit to North Harrison. We had no answer for Kidd in the post. He was tough out there. He kept them alive.’
Kidd finished with 17 points.
‘Josh Kidd, the last two nights, has come of age,’ Snodgrass said. ‘He had 13 points and 12 rebounds (against Lanesville), and tonight he had 17 points and 12 boards again. The better he gets, the better we get, because that gives us our inside attack.’
Janes scored 18 for the Cougars, followed by Rainbolt’s 10. Eveslage put in five, and Clayton Nix scored a three. Zack Sullivan came off the bench for a deuce.
Five players reached double figures for Salem: Atkins put in 22, Nelson had 21, Griffus scored, 13 and 10 points each came from Amick and Matt Hudson.
For the game, North shot 19 of 50 (38 percent) from the field and 7-23 from the three-point line. Salem, which won the rebounding battle by one, hit 25 of 47 (53 percent) and blistered the arc by nailing 11 of 14 (79 percent) tries.
The Cougars had 20 turnovers while Salem had 17, including 16 in the second half.
— In last week’s story about the Cougars’ contest at Eastern, it incorrectly stated that Clayton Nix put in 10 points. We should have said Troy Eveslage.