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Cougars’ upset bid nipped in OT

Cougars’ upset bid nipped in OT
Cougars’ upset bid nipped in OT
North Harrison guard Jake Book hits the deck to come up with a loose ball, while teammate Chandler Jenkins and Scottsburg's Brandon Boswell give an attempt as well. Photos by Brian Smith

The boys in blue and white had spoiler on their mind.
Facing a Scottsburg team with double the amount of wins as North Harrison (seven to 14), the Cougars didn’t back down from a Class 3A Corydon Central Sectional fight Friday night.
In fact, for much of the night, the Cougars had the upper-hand, building a 15-point lead at one point.
With its frantic back-court press defense and clutch shooting, Scottsburg rallied back. Sending the game to overtime with a Scottsburg bucket by Christian Barrett, the attention turned to an up-and-down extra session.
A field goal by the speedy Cameron Schmidt with 20 seconds to play gave Scottsburg a two-point lead it would not relinquish. North Harrison had a shot attempt inside the arc not fall, leading to a Scottsburg victory, 72-70.
‘They have a veteran team,’ North Harrison coach Kevin Jones said. ‘They’ve already beat us. They’ve won 14 games, we’ve won seven. Throw it out the window. It doesn’t matter. We went out and proved we didn’t care about those things. We just came up a little short. That’s part of basketball.’
In the overtime, Barrett went back and forth with North Harrison freshman Jake Book in the first two minutes. Book nailed a 3-pointer, putting the Cougars up 64-61 at the midway point of the four-minute OT.
Barrett’s comeback was an offensive rebound, leading to a pair of free throws he swished.
The roof at Corydon Central’s gym nearly came off on North Harrison’s next possession. Taking the ball from the left corner, senior Gage Arnold drove baseline past a defender, dunking home two points, bringing the lead back to three, 66-63.
With Arnold’s points coming with 1:05 left, Schmidt proved to be a clutch performer. Immediately into the offensive end, the shaggy-haired guard knocked down a long ball.
‘Gage made a huge play for us on the drive,’ Jones said. ‘Schmidt, we talked about him all week; he’s relentless. He doesn’t get tired, and he never comes out of the game. He’s all the time. He’s not a good 3-point shooter, but he hit one when they needed it.’
After North Harrison gave the ball away on offense, Scottsburg’s Christian Evans, who battled foul trouble all night, came up with two points to give the Warriors a 68-66 lead.
The Cougars weren’t done. On an outstanding night for Flock, the junior split the Scottsburg defense for an acrobatic lay-up that sent him sliding on the deck out of bounds with 24 seconds left.
The game wasn’t tied at 68 for long as Schmidt took the inbounds pass and went coast to coast in a matter of seconds to put in the go-ahead bucket.
‘Flock made a heck of a play to tie it, but Schmidt got the ball and he was gone,’ Jones said.
Book had a drive to the hoop fall off the rim in the final seconds. The rebound was gathered by Schmidt, who calmly knocked down a pair of freebies to seal the Warriors’ comeback.
‘It’s brutal losing a game like that, but they had a lot of experience at this level,’ Jones said. ‘They made a couple more big plays than we did. We certainly had some big plays, but they had more.’
The overtime win put the Warriors at 3-0 in games this season extending beyond regulation. North Harrison, meanwhile, dropped to 1-2 in OT.
‘I told (our team) afterwards that we played a good game,’ Jones said. ‘In my opinion, of course I’m biased, we were the better team for 30 to 34 minutes of the game, but they were more experienced and made the plays at the end when they needed them. But our goal is not to be sitting in a sectional locker room at this time after losing a game like this again. We’ve got to come back and get better over the summer.’
North Harrison fell behind in the game early, trailing by six points, 19-13, after the first quarter. Schmidt had eight of his game-high 24 points during an 8-0 run by the Warriors to establish the margin.
North Harrison’s big outburst of scoring came in the second quarter. Switching to a zone look on the defensive end, then a barrage of 3-pointers, led the Cougars to outscoring Scottsburg 22-5 in the stanza.
Flock’s big night started the run, as he hit a jumper followed by a 3-pointer. Returning from an injury, junior Chandler Jenkins sent a quick outlet pass to Flock for a lay-up and a 20-19 North Harrison lead. It was a lead they would build on during the next quarter and a half.
Arnold sank his second triple of the game. Flock sent a pass to the post that Brad Nowak finished. Alex Eveslage came off the bench and took advantage of an open 3-pointer given to him at the top of the key.
The end result of a stellar second quarter was a 35-24 halftime lead for North Harrison.
‘We played really well to get the lead that we got,’ Jones said. ‘We had good balance. Alex Eveslage, a sophomore, comes in and knocks down a cold-blooded three off the bench. He didn’t think anything about it. He’s a kid that was on the freshman team a year ago. He’s really developed and, along with Jake Troxell, got minutes in this atmosphere that will carry over.’
Points by Flock and Book to begin the second half prompted the largest North Harrison lead, 39-24.
Then, Scottsburg started to come back. The Warriors outscored North Harrison 16-6 during the next 5-1/2 minutes to come within five points.
Book ended the run with a ball fake and lay-in, followed by Jenkins scoring on a buzzer-beating put-back after Shawn Bishop missed a right-wing 3-pointer.
Pressure by Scottsburg in the fourth led to nine North Harrison turnovers. With the miscues, the Warriors took advantage. Barrett was a load in the post, using a spin move to score. Evans then scored off an inbounds play, bringing Scottsburg within three points.
Near the midway point of the fourth, Bishop came up with five points, including an and-one, to extend the Cougars’ lead to 57-49 with 3:43 to play.
However, during that last 3:43, North Harrison failed to score. Evans sank a pair of 3-pointers for the Warriors. His last attempt, with five seconds to go, was off the mark when the game was knotted at 57. Scottsburg had a put-back attempt from the elbow, but it was off target as well.
‘We didn’t handle the ball very well in the second half against the press,’ Jones said.
In the overtime, the back-and-forth affair went to Scottsburg, ending North Harrison’s season at 7-16.
‘We’re happy with where we are after year one,’ said Jones, the North Harrison alum that concluded his first year at the helm. ‘I feel terrible for the kids because we had a chance to win. It was right there for us but (we) couldn’t make the play we wanted to. We couldn’t deliver the knock out blow.’
Flock closed with 22 points, while Book had 16. Both are underclassmen who will return next season.
‘He’s a hard-nosed player,’ Jones said of Book. ‘He’s strong and quick. He shot the ball a whole lot better than we ever thought he would for a freshman. He’s crafty with the ball and not afraid of big moments.’
Arnold, one of five seniors for the Cougars, finished with 10 points. Classmate Bishop had nine. Jenkins had six points and nine rebounds in the junior’s return.
‘Chandler was rusty,’ Jones said. ‘Mixing in his time off for injury and snow days, we figured he would be. He missed some shots he would normally make, but he did a pretty good job defensively.’
The graduating seniors include Austin Giles, Brad Nowak, Jack Phelps, Arnold and Bishop.
‘All and all, I’m pretty happy with the season,’ Jones said. ‘It was a rebuilding year. We definitely laid some blocks.’

Scottsburg 19 5 16 17 15 ‘ 72
North Harrison 13 22 14 8 13 ‘ 70
Scottsburg (15-7) ‘ Schmidt 24, Barrett 24, Evans 16, Boswell 6, Soloe 2.
North Harrison (7-16) ‘ Flock 22, Book 16, Arnold 10, Bishop 9, Jenkins 6, Eveslage 3, Phelps 2, Nowak 2,
3-point goals ‘ Scottsburg 5 (Schmidt 2, Evans 2, Boswell); North Harrison 6 (Flock 2, Arnold 2, Book, Eveslage).
Photos

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