Opponents’ heroics doom NH
The agony of losing on a late shot hit the North Harrison boys’ basketball team again last Tuesday.
Clarksville’s Jake Hartlage nailed a 3-pointer as time expired in regulation to force overtime against the Cougars, who fought back from 12 points down. In the overtime, Billy Edelen scored seven of his team’s nine points to lead the one-loss Generals to a 69-65 overtime win in Ramsey.
‘I’m wondering where some of the magic went,’ North Harrison coach Greg Walters said. ‘We’ve lost a few late lately.’
North Harrison has been on the wrong end of last-second decisions in three of its previous four games. On Jan. 28 at Madison, the Cubs hit a trey at the buzzer to win and that finish was followed by another late shot by Crawford County on Feb. 3 to take a loss.
‘A kid has hit a shot at the buzzer,’ Walters said of the recent losses. ‘It happened at Madison when we were trying to foul and against Crawford County. Now, here with Clarksville. I told the guys I thought we played that situation really well. He was well defended and he hit a great shot. The frustrating thing is, we’ve practiced that scenario in practice all week long. It’s crazy. They made a great play, but I’m proud of my guys for the way they battled.’
North Harrison took the lead, 52-50, with five minutes to go in the fourth quarter when Josh Wenning turned a steal into a layup. Class 2A No. 6 Clarksville eventually retook the lead when Edelen nailed a deep trey with 2:05 left.
Finishing with his sixth 30-plus-point performance of the season, North Harrison’s Cory Smith knocked down a 3-pointer with 30 seconds to play, giving his team a 58-57 lead.
Following consecutive Clarksville turnovers, North Harrison’s John Martin swished a pair of free throws with 7.6 seconds left to put the Cougars ahead 60-57.
Clarksville advanced the ball to mid-court, calling a time-out after three seconds ticked off. Out of the break, Hartlage took the inbound pass and fired the deep 3 off the dribble that went in.
‘The frustrating thing is, we played as well as we could play and had them down three, and they just made a great shot,’ Walters said. ‘That is one they’ll always remember, but (I) hate that it happened against us.’
North Harrison took a 63-62 lead with 1:18 left in overtime when Collin Book scored inside. Edelen answered with a trey then followed by going 4 of 4 at the charity stripe. The senior is perfect at the line this season, going 29 of 29.
‘We’ve got to learn from those situations,’ Walters said. ‘I told the kids I don’t know why that shot went in, but it is something we have to learn from and get better as basketball players and as people. A big thing in life is dealing with disappointment and how you respond to it. We’ve gotten a huge dose of it, and we could easily have 13 wins right now, something we’re fighting and scratching to do. Some miraculous shots keep going in.’
Clarksville raced out to an early lead in the game and eventually led 27-19 at halftime.
In the second half, the Cougars caught fire, tallying 23 points. Smith buried three of his seven 3-pointers in the frame. Teammate Austin Nolot added a triple in the third to help the cause.
‘(Teams) do everything to not let (Smith) get the ball,’ Walters said. ‘He did well tonight off the bounce, getting to the rim. He works hard to be a complete team player. He’d be the first to say it’s about his teammates. All these kids are good ones.’
Smith put in a one-handed runner in the lane to tie the game late in the quarter, 42-42. Aiden McEwen, who had 23 points, closed the frame with a triple at the buzzer.
Clarksville would extend its lead back to five in the fourth quarter before the Cougars mounted another comeback for the thrilling conclusion.
Smith finished with 30 points, while Tyler Bement had 13. Book pitched in 11 points.
Edelen led the winners with 25 points.
‘Obviously, Clarksville is a great team and could easily be an undefeated team,’ said Walters, who was an assistant coach for eight years at Clarksville before coming to North Harrison. ‘We were using it as a measuring stick for us. It’s one we wanted to get.’
North Harrison will head to the Class 3A Salem Sectional and will open against the host Lions on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Salem won the regular season meeting.