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Brownstown too much for Cougars

Monday night, Jan. 3, was a rough night for the North Harrison Cougars. Not only were the Cougars hosting Brownstown Central on their first day back from Christmas break, they were playing with heavy hearts after the death of the school corporation’s assistant superintendent and former varsity boys’ basketball coach and teacher, Ken Oppel. The Braves dominated all night and came out 68-46 victors.
‘Tonight wasn’t the outcome we wanted,’ Cougar coach Greg Walters said. ‘Our guys have put in a lot of hard work.’
The Braves raced to an early lead, 11-2, and went on to a 16-6 advantage after one quarter.
Dylan Janes hit for North Harrison to begin the second period, but Brownstown Central countered with a 10-0 run to lead 26-8. The Cougars found Lincoln Jones twice inside for baskets to ignite an 8-2 burst, but Jake Olson punched in a deuce to end the half with the Braves on top, 30-16.
‘They’re an experienced team,’ Walters said. ‘They have quality players who are able to do some things on the floor that our guys, at the moment, are still working to do. They’ve been playing in state championships and winning sectionals year after year, and that’s something we strive to do. Here, it’s win our sectional and be able to be a top-echelon team, but it takes time.’
Brownstown Central had a big third quarter, outscoring the Cougars 21-7. North Harrison did manage a 10-3 burst early in the fourth quarter, but was just in too deep of a hole and fell by the 68-46 final.
‘We can’t harp on this one. We’ve got to learn from our mistakes,’ Walters said. ‘We still got a learning curve, and our guys are still putting in the effort. I look at us being in some of these games against top-echelon teams.’
Cory Smith came off the bench to lead the Cougars with 12 points, and Jones had 11. North Harrison was just 15 of 48 from the field (31 percent) and 8 of 10 on free-throw chances. The Cougars had 14 turnovers.
‘Cory has been knocking down some of those shots and didn’t get them to go tonight,’ Walters said. ‘We had several layups early that they were able to change our shot or we didn’t quite finish, whereas they were able to get right to the rim and execute and finish on the shot.’
Spencer Allman led Brownstown Central with 20 points, and Skylar Thompson had 15. The Braves connected on 26 of 47 field-goal attempts (55 percent) and 12 of 15 free throws. Brownstown Central had 16 turnovers.
‘We’re still pretty confident,’ Walters said. ‘It’s a good Brownstown team. I was telling the kids we’re real close being in some of these games against good teams. We haven’t been able to find that hump. Success comes from a lot of hard work and success previous to that, so we’re trying to build one small step at a time.’