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Flock rocks in final moments

Flock rocks in final moments
Flock rocks in final moments
North Harrison guard Alex Flock drives to the hoop to put in the eventual game-winning basket for the Cougars while South Central's Nick Wemes tries to block the shot last Tuesday. The game was the season opener for both squads. Photos by Brian Smith

The North Harrison Cougars and South Central Rebels fought through their first game of the season last Tuesday night in a battle royal that came down to the final seconds. The Cougars’ Alex Flock took the ball straight at the Rebels for the winning basket in the 46-44 victory.
‘It feels real good,’ first-year North Harrison coach Kevin Jones said. ‘I felt a little nervous about it all day, especially when I found out Chandler (Jenkins) wasn’t going to get to play. Our kids stepped up. We’ve got to have the attitude it’s the next man up. If Alex goes down, the next kid has got to step up. That’s the way we’re going to have to be this year.’
‘We had point-blank opportunities tonight we didn’t make,’ South Central coach Ryan Crick said. ‘It’s something we’ve been harping on in practice. That’s the game right there. When you lose the game by two, you’ve got to cover two things, two things that decide that basketball game.’
The two teams swapped baskets for the first minutes of the game, then the Rebels finished the quarter with a 7-2 burst to lead 13-8 after one period.
South Central led through the second quarter, as well, but the Cougars kept within striking distance. After the Cougars closed to within one on a bucket by Flock, South Central ran off six straight points to lead 22-15. Jake Troxell drove for two at the end of the half for the Cougars, and North Harrison’s deficit was back down to five, 22-17, at the break.
‘I was very proud of how we played our man-to-man defense tonight,’ Crick said. ‘I thought we got through the screens really well. They didn’t shoot the ball particularly well like they did in the scrimmage right here.’
‘We want to play fast,’ Jones said. ‘We want to force the tempo. I thought South Central did a great job running up and down the floor. They beat us in transition, especially in the first half. Ryan (Crick) does an excellent job with those kids. They play hard. I thought they played harder than us in the first half.’
South Central continued to hold the advantage early in the third quarter, but then Flock scored three straight baskets. Brad Nowak added a fourth deuce in the run, and North Harrison had a one-point edge, 25-24. That started a swap session until Flock swished a three-ball then followed with a deuce to give the Cougars a 32-28 lead.
Logan May and Zack Goodwin both scored inside in the final two minutes, and the game was tied at 32 with one quarter to go.
Gage Arnold and Nowak scored the first six points of the fourth for a 38-32 Cougars’ advantage. The Rebels quickly retaliated with a 6-0 run of their own to tie once again. The two teams traded the lead again, and Sutton Day then scored inside for a 44-41 Rebels’ edge. That lasted only briefly, however, as Flock drilled a three to tie the game at 44 with 54 seconds left.
The North Harrison defense forced a five-second call against the Rebels on the next inbounds.
With just eight seconds left, Flock took the ball at three-quarter court and drove toward the basket. The North Harrison junior drove through four Rebels’ defenders and put in a layup with 5.6 seconds left in the game for a 46-44 Cougars’ lead.
Day got back down the floor to about 23 feet from the basket and watched his shot go wide left, giving the Cougars the two-point win.
‘We had two plays set up, and I was hoping they would come out man and we’d just stretch the floor and let Alex go to the basket,’ Jones said. ‘We ran the play earlier in the game and pulled up and shot a jump shot. I said, ‘When we call those plays, I want you to get to the basket.’ I want people to either help up when we dump down to our bigs or we want to get a shot in the lane.
‘He got all the way to lane and made a nice individual move and play and won a big game for us. He’s going to have to do that, especially with Chandler being out.’
‘They did a great job of fighting back to take the lead,’ Crick said. ‘We fought back to take the lead. It was seesaw back and forth. It seemed like every time we would turn it over, we’d get a big stop, then we’d turn it over and they always capitalize. It was and-one or a big shot, so that hurts.’
Flock led the Cougars with 22 points. North Harrison connected on 19 of 44 field-goals attempts (43 percent) and three of eight free throws. North Harrison had 22 turnovers.
‘It was a total team effort,’ Jones said. ‘Everybody stepped in. Shawn (Bishop) and Jack (Phelps), they did their jobs on the wings. We’ve got to take better care of the ball. We’ve got to do a better job hitting free throws. We’ve got to do a better job of hitting our sets. We’ve got a long way to go, but we’ve got a new coach, new system, new players. We’ll take one, though.’
Goodwin led South Central with 20 points. The Rebels hit 20 of 58 field-goal attempts (34 percent) and just one of five free-throw attempts. South Central had 16 turnovers.
‘One for five from the free-throw line for us,’ Crick said. ‘You can’t win basketball games shooting only five free throws, making one. … I feel, if you get two feet in the lane, you’ve got to finish. You’ve got to finish or get fouled. We weren’t doing either one. That’s something that was a weakness last year, and it’s continued on to this year. It’s something we’re going to have to get a whole lot better at.’
Jones said he didn’t expect South Central to get up and down the floor like it did.
‘I expected them to play slow, and I thought our pressure would bother them a little bit,’ he said. ‘They did a good job handling pressure. They’re well coached. The Goodwin kid is a very nice player. He’s got lots of experience. He made big plays for them when it counted for them too. … We were lucky enough to make a couple of plays in the end and dodge a big bullet.’

South Central 13 9 10 12 ‘ 44
North Harrison 8 9 15 14 ‘ 46
South Central (0-1) ‘ Day 5, Ray 3, Wemes 8, Goforth 2, Shewmaker 4, Goodwin 20, May 2
North Harrison (1-0) ‘ Flock 22, Troxell 6, Bishop 2, Arnold 8, Nowak 6, Book 2
3-point goals ‘ South Central 1 (Day); North Harrison 3 (Flock 3).

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