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Paoli outlasts North Harrison in overtime, 67-65

Paoli outlasts North Harrison in overtime, 67-65
Paoli outlasts North Harrison in overtime, 67-65
North Harrison's Cody Johnson, right, steals the ball from Paoli's Matt Warner in the second half. (Photo by Wade Bell)

North Harrison made a big fourth-quarter run at host Paoli last Tuesday night, but the Cougars came up two points short in overtime, losing 67-65 to the Rams.
‘It was a great effort coming back,’ North Harrison coach Rick Snodgrass said. ‘We worked hard. We should have never been down in the first place. We could have executed better the first half. It’s a tough place to play. We got no breaks tonight, but on the flip side we didn’t create breaks.’
The entire first quarter was like a swap meet between the two teams, as they played to a 13-13 tie by the end of the first eight minutes.
North Harrison finally found some footing at the beginning of the second period, using a 7-2 burst to take a 20-15 lead. Paoli pulled within two, but Josh Kidd and Jim Bob Schuler scored to keep the Cougars ahead, 25-19.
Paoli, however, finished the quarter with an 8-0 run. The Cougars had a chance for some points at the end of the half as Joe Bolin was fouled by Joe Goodman on a three-point attempt, but Bolin missed all three free throws with no time on the clock, leaving Paoli with a 27-25 halftime lead.
‘We can’t put the ball in for them,’ Snodgrass said of his team. ‘All we can do is teach them how to do it. They have to do it.’
‘This was like a sectional atmosphere,’ he said. ‘This game right here really prepares you for the tournament.’
North Harrison kept within four points early in the third period, but then Drew White and Thomas Springer drilled back-to-back three-balls to push the Ram lead to 39-29. The Cougars gained a bit of ground when Schuler and Bolin connected inside, but Paoli still had a 46-37 lead with one quarter left.
‘We played good defense and we moved the ball offensively,’ Paoli coach Joe Hinton said. ‘We knew if we put the ball in Drew’s hands, hopefully, he would be a little more selective, and he was OK to a certain degree. We were making their big man come out and switch on him, and then we did not take advantage of that. We should have taken him to the hole.’
With five minutes to go in the fourth quarter, North Harrison began a charge to come back, going on a 9-2 run to close within three, 52-49.
Springer gave Paoli a deuce, but North Harrison countered with three. Then, with 28 seconds to go, North Harrison’s Tyler Brunner converted on a layup after Logan Laswell missed the front end of a bonus for Paoli to give the Cougars a 57-56 lead.
Cody Johnson then put the Cougars up by three with 11.8 seconds left, but with a hair over five seconds left, Paoli’s Donnie Kee drilled a long three from the left side to send the game into overtime.
‘We just told the kids to guard the three-point line,’ Snodgrass said. ‘We didn’t do that. They did not do what we told them to do. That gave (Paoli) a chance to tie the game and put it in overtime.’
‘We did so many better things,’ Hinton said. ‘We made some nice cuts tonight and found some people. Even before, when it looked like we were going to get beat, Donnie (Kee) was in the corner there and somebody found him. Everything went bad for Donnie there, and him making that three was justice for him.’
The two teams tied at 61 and 63 two minutes into overtime, then Laswell connected on one of two free throws to put the Rams in front.
Schuler scored inside with 30 seconds remaining for a 65-64 Cougar advantage, but Justin Phillips countered for the Rams 10 seconds later.
North Harrison called timeout with 13.4 seconds left. With time running out, Jordan Byrne drove for the basket on the right side, but had his shot blocked by Kee. Laswell finished the game with a final free throw following a rebounding foul by David Geswein, and Paoli took the 67-65 win.
‘They end up winning by two points,’ Snodgrass said. ‘It doesn’t matter now. Everybody’s 0-0 next week. I don’t care what the end result was and I don’t care what the record is now, because what matters is what you’re going to do Tuesday night. Our focus for everything else will be towards Corydon. We’re a much better team than we were when we started the season.’
‘We just don’t understand the game right now,’ Hinton said of his team despite its win. ‘We don’t understand the game right now. We don’t understand that you make a bunch of passes and understand what’s a good shot and a bad shot.’
Brunner and Kidd led North Harrison with 15 points each. Johnson finished with 13, and Schuler put in 12. The Cougars were 25 of 65 (38 percent) from the field and 11 of 23 from the charity stripe. North Harrison committed 12 turnovers.
‘We missed 23 shots in the paint, and we shot 11 for 23 at the free-throw line,’ Snodgrass said. ‘If you do the math, we should have won by 15 or 20 points.’
White led the Rams with 18 points, and Springer added 13. Phillips scored 12, and Kee had 10 for the Rams, who were 27 of 58 from the field (46 percent). Paoli connected on 7 of 17 free throws and had 13 turnovers. Paoli’s bench contributed 29 points.
‘When we got the lead, Drew did play pretty good when we got in that stretch,’ Hinton said. ‘We’ve got to have everybody click on the same page. We started getting tired and playing weak defense there at the end. We probably got more offense tonight out of Thomas than we have all year. He ought to be scoring 13 points.’
‘He got away from us,’ Snodgrass said of White. ‘A lot of breaks go their way. He’s a good shooter. He transferred mid-season. He wasn’t a part of their team at the start of the year.’
Snodgrass said he expects his team to be ready for the sectional, which began last night (Tuesday).
‘Ironically sometimes when you lose your last game of the season, it makes you hungrier when you go into the sectional,’ he said. ‘I think that’s what’s going to happen with us. I think the kids are going to be hungry.’
‘Our coaching staff have busted their butts,’ Snodgrass said. ‘I’m proud of our kids. For the most part, they’ve worked hard all year. ‘ I think sometimes you get too much credit when you win a lot of games and sometimes you don’t get the credit you deserve when you work hard and don’t win games.
‘I’m real proud of how the kids kept their attitude all year. They never gave up all year. There’s no doubt this team will win next year. This will be a winning ball club next year. The seniors have done a good job attitude wise of teaching these kids. Tyler Schmidt, Tyler Brunner and Josh Kidd have done a great job leading this team attitude wise.’

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