Second-quarter outburst lifts NH
Unselfish play on offense and added defensive pressure led to a lopsided second quarter for the North Harrison boys’ basketball team in a 61-49 win Dec. 28 over Mitchell.
North Harrison entered the decisive second quarter nine points behind the visiting Blue Jackets. That 16-7 deficit quickly reversed as the Cougars nailed four 3-pointers in the quarter, along with forcing four turnovers.
‘For us, this is a big win because we haven’t played in almost a month,’ North Harrison coach Greg Walters said. ‘It was a long day today, combining the game with the girls. But we started to hit shots in the second quarter and really got us going in the right direction.’
Off the bench, freshman Cory Smith began the second quarter with his first of three 3-pointers in the frame. Mitchell, however, answered with an old-fashioned 3-point play from Brandon Owens and a trey from Reed Smith. The points gave Mitchell its largest lead, 22-11.
From that point, it was all Cougars.
In the paint, North Harrison senior Lincoln Jones was fouled on a made field goal to start a 23-2 run. After making the free throw, Jones was fouled again on the next trip down the court.
The scoring barrage continued when sophomore John Martin nailed a field goal. Mitchell’s lead continued to shrink when Smith picked off a ball near mid-court and dished to junior Josh Wenning for a layup. The bucket cut Mitchell’s lead to 22-20, forcing Blue Jacket coach Tim Haworth to call a time-out.
Mitchell managed three free throws after the time-out, two from Jimmy Bales, the other from Tyler Blackburn.
Despite the singles, the Cougars continued to shoot. Sophomore Tyler Bement got in on the action with a field goal, followed by another Jones 3-point play. The quarter closed with a pair of Smith treys and one from Jones.
‘We went on a 23-2 run at one point, which made me proud of the guys as a team,’ Walters said. ‘They started to make the extra pass and worked hard on both ends of the floor.’
The end result was a 34-25 halftime lead for the Cougars. They tallied 11 rebounds in the quarter, including four pulled down by Martin.
‘We instilled a different offense than last year,’ Walters said. ‘It’s a style that can benefit the program all the way down to the younger kids. It has taken a while to adjust. We went from being used to patterns to working the ball to find open shots.’
Mitchell crawled back to within three points, 37-34, at one point during the third quarter. Martin and Smith answered back, combining for a 6-0 run to press the lead to 43-34 after three quarters.
In the fourth period, North Harrison added distance on the scoreboard. A 9-2 run put the lead at 53-36, comfortable enough to put away the Blue Jackets.
Jones led the Cougars with 22 points and nine rebounds. Smith added seven points, while Collin Book chipped in seven.
‘We’ve put a lot on Lincoln this year, and he has responded,’ Walters said. ‘He’s been getting us a lot of rebounds. He had 19 in one game earlier this (season). He has a good grasp of what we are doing around him, but he works hard and played well tonight.’
Mitchell was paced by Brandon Owens, who had 17 points. Bales contributed 11 points.
‘A bunch of guys played well,’ Walters said. ‘A couple have been out with illnesses, which has allowed others to fill in with expanded roles. Those guys took advantage of minutes played.’
The win improved the Cougars to 3-2. They next will play at Austin on Friday at 7:30 p.m. They also will hit the road Saturday, facing Scottsburg at 7:30 p.m.