Southard’s FTs at :03 seal Cougar win over W. Wash
North Harrison senior Devin Southard walked up to the free-throw line as cool as a cucumber Friday night with three seconds left in the Cougars’ game against visiting West Washington and punched in both shots for a 49-47 win over the Senators. It wasn’t the first time Southard had shown he could be calm in the clutch.
‘We won last Friday night (at Lanesville), too,’ North Harrison coach Greg Walters said. ‘Devin knocked down 10 free throws late. They fouled him five times, and he was able to cash in on all 10 of them. He’s been really big the last two weeks. He came off a hurt ankle and it was bothering him Saturday night. He didn’t have the game he wanted to have, nor did the rest of us.’
The Cougars led by six early, but the Senators’ Cody Huff and Josh Green sandwiched a pair of 3-pointers around an Alex Edwards deuce to close the gap to two, 12-10, at the end of the first quarter.
West Washington tied the game three times in the opening minutes of the second period. Lincoln Jones scored inside then Southard drove the lane for two more for a 20-16 Cougar lead. That evaporated in a hurry as Trevor Nice and Green delivered on a deuce-and-one, allowing the Senators to take a 21-20 lead to the locker room at halftime.
‘West Washington is a good team, and Josh Green is a heck of a player,’ Walters said. ‘He’s had some big games this year. We knew we probably couldn’t stop him, but we were hoping to contain him a little bit. We came out in a box-and-one trying to frustrate him a little bit. When we didn’t have someone right on him, he got free in transition and knocked down some big 3s for them and really kept them in the game.’
Green buried a 3 to open the second half for a 24-20 Senator lead. Southard countered again with a deuce and Joe Bolin added a freebie later to cut the gap to one. Nice sank another West Washington trey to gap the Cougars by four once again. Lincoln Jones and Bolin scored to the tie game at 27.
Southard added a 3-pointer and Bolin made another free throw and field goal to push the Cougars in front by six, 33-27. Clayton Sullivan countered with a Senator trey, but Bolin drove the baseline on the next possession for a field goal and a 35-30 Cougar advantage with one quarter left.
North Harrison kept the lead at five through the first four minutes of the fourth quarter. Green then struck twice, the first time with a deuce and then a 3-pointer to tie the game at 42. Bolin pushed North Harrison in front by two, but Logan Hall and Sullivan connected for four and a 46-44 Senator lead with 2:22 remaining in the game. With 1:07 left, Bolin tied the game at 47 with two free throws.
West Washington called time-out with 55.2 seconds left in the game. The Senators spread the floor but coughed up the ball to the Cougars with 6.4 seconds remaining. Hall was then called for his fifth foul, which sent Southard to the line with three seconds left on the clock. The Cougar senior calmly sank both freebies.
Green got off a shot from mid-court, but it bounced off the front of the rim and the Cougars had the 49-47 win.
‘We’ve been in the last three games,’ Walters said. ‘We told ourselves we were starting new. The first 10 games are done. This group hasn’t really played together as a group. We finally got to know each other and finally know what we’re doing and in the right places. That puts us at 2-1 in the last stretch here. We’re not satisfied with just one win.’
Southard and Bolin led the Cougars with 16 points each. The Cougars connected on 16 of 34 field goals (47 percent) and 17 of 20 free throws. North Harrison finished with 15 turnovers.
‘We have a winning record on the road, and we hadn’t won a home game,’ Walters said. ‘It was one of those deals we were able to get to the foul line tonight. We had two seniors step up and be absolutely big: Devin Southard and Joe Bolin both get 16 points.’
Green led West Washington with 18, and Sullivan added 10 for the game. The Senators were 17 of 43 from the field (40 percent) and connected on 5 of 10 free throws. West Washington had 12 turnovers.