Rough trip to Creek for Cougars
North Harrison traveled Friday night for an early test against defending sectional champ Silver Creek.
Kevin Jones, coach of the Cougars, said the preparation leading to the Mid-Southern Conference bout was positive but the execution was lacking.
On a night the Silver Creek boys’ basketball team honored service members, the Dragons pounced on the Cougars early and pulled away for a 68-39 win.
‘We played undisciplined, selfish basketball,’ Jones said. ‘Everything we worked on all week defensively, when we get into a game, it goes out the door. We were exposed by a really good team. If nothing else comes out of this, hopefully, we can learn playing that way isn’t going to beat good teams.’
Silver Creek was dominant on the boards, led by a double-double from Alex Long (14 points, 10 rebounds). The host school out-rebounded North Harrison 33-17.
The work on the glass was evident early. Six points for the Dragons in the opening quarter came on second chances. On the other end, North Harrison turned the ball over six times, including three on player-control whistles.
‘Our rotations and communications were bad,’ Jones said. ‘It was a really bad effort on defense and on offense. If we would have had special teams, that would have been bad, too.’
The round ball wasn’t an oblong one, but the Cougars found themselves down by more than two touchdowns, 20-4 at the close of the first quarter.
One field goal dropped for North Harrison in that span: an Alex Flock 3-pointer.
Up against a quick, physical defense, Jones said his troops weren’t patient enough on the offensive end.
‘We have to learn to play through bumps, cut hard and set good screens,’ he said. ‘There were times where I thought we were going through the motions on offense like we were going against our JV. That’s not going to work. We settled for taking the first half-way decent shot when we think we are open. We preach patience.’
Reed, Silver Creek’s talented 6-foot-6 big man, was a bear inside. He accounted for 21 points, a game-high.
North Harrison had a chance to cut into the deficit in the second quarter after Flock swung a pass to Alex Eveslage for a long ball. Field goals by Jake Book forced a time-out by the Dragons, who had a 22-11 lead.
From then until the half, Silver Creek went to Reed. He had 10 points in the final 5:22. The Cougars’ chances to capitalize came at the free-throw line, but they struggled there. They were 2 for 10 in the first half and 6 for 16 for the game.
Silver Creek started the third quarter on a 10-1 run to take a commanding 44-15 lead.
The sputtering North Harrison offense started to pick up with Flock hitting a trey followed by strong drives from Jake Troxell and Eveslage.
‘Alex Eveslage played as well as anyone we had,’ Jones said. ‘He was aggressive and had some fight in him. Jake Troxell did some good things in the second half. We have to get stronger and tougher.’
Troxell scored nine of his 11 points in the second half. Flock finished with 11 as well.
Starters Jake Book and Chandler Jenkins were held to six and three points, respectively. Eveslage added eight.
‘We stress Jake, Alex, Chandler and those guys that you aren’t going to get all the way to the rim all the time,’ Jones said. ‘Try controlled jump stops, shoot a jump shot, kick it out. Those little things are options instead of running fast into the lane.’
The loss, hopefully, is a learning lesson for the Cougars, Jones said.
‘(Silver Creek) was a good fundamental team with a really, really good player and a bunch of other guys buying into a team philosophy,’ Jones said. ‘They work well together. They pass it well and defend together. That is the difference between them and us right now. We are still impatient offensively. We had too many defensive breakdowns … If we want to get to that next level, we need to play that way.’
North Harrison 4 10 13 12 ‘ 39
Silver Creek 20 16 18 14 ‘ 68
North Harrison (3-1, 1-1 MSC) ‘ Flock 11, Troxell 11, Eveslage 8, Book 6, Jenkins 3.
Silver Creek (5-0, 3-0) ‘ Reed 21, Long 14, Stephens 7, Gross 6, Baker 5, Tharp 4, Densford 4, Eckert 3, Garrett 2, Landers 2.
3-point goals ‘ North Harrison 4 (Flock 2, Troxell, Eveslage), Silver Creek 2 (Baker, Eckert).