NH too big for Orleans
Wade Bell, Sports Writer
Size matters. At least it did in Saturday night’s matchup between North Harrison and visiting Orleans as the Cougars took apart the Bulldogs in a 63-47 romp. While the Bulldogs did have some shooters and quickness, they had nothing for the Cougars’ bigs and North Harrison ran away with a 63-47 win.
“We have to keep working and talking about what you have to do and being alert and having people not panic,” said North Harrison coach Lou Lefevere. “You just have to try to get them to understand what they need to do. That’s why they need to play it. That’s probably the biggest thing of the game. We probably got 20 points on offensive putbacks, and we probably got 20 second-chance baskets. Those are huge.”
The Cougars got the first two baskets of the game: a three from Langdon Hatton and deuce from Logan McIntire. The two teams traded the next few baskets until North Harrison knocked down 11 straight points for an 18-7 lead. Devyn Martin drilled an Orleans three in return, but the Cougars countered with four. Griffin Deckard got a deuce-and-one before the end of the quarter, and the Bulldogs stayed in striking distance down 22-13.
The Bulldogs began the second period with an 8-3 run, closing the gap to four, 25-21. Hatton and McIntire scored inside, but Duncan King countered from downtown with a two, putting the gap back to three. McIntire finished the half with a pair of freebies, and North Harrison had a five-point lead, 31-26, at halftime.
Both teams were coming off hard losses from the night before; the Cougars losing to Silver Creek by eight and the Bulldogs to Northeast Dubois by three in overtime.
“You play back to back against a big time team and we came up a little short; both teams are in the same boat in that regard so that’s not an excuse for anything,” said Lefevre. “Plus, if you’re going to win a sectional, you’re going to have to play really good on back-to-back nights anyway so you better be able to do it at the end of the year. If that had an effect on us, then that’s not a good thing and we have to be better at it too.”
Sawyer Wetzel scored to start the second half, but Deckard countered for the Bulldogs inside and out, scoring in the paint then hitting from behind the arc, closing the Bulldog deficit to two, 33-31. North Harrison followed with a 6-3 burst. Following a King free throw, Hatton got a lay-in and a dunk. McIntire followed with two inside, and Hatton later added two more to put North Harrison’s lead back in double digits. Deckard got three of those back, and Orleans went into the fourth quarter down nine.
The Cougars started off the fourth quarter with an 8-3 run to lead 55-40. The Bulldogs managed only a free throw and a three-ball in the final minutes, and the Cougars celebrated a 63-47 win to improve their record to 3-1.
“Our inside players were a little too strong,” Lefevre said. “When we got it inside, we usually got good chances. We had trouble guarding them on the perimeter. They were beating us off the dribble, getting into the lane. They were either getting straight to the rim or kicking to an open shooter. We were just having a heck of a time stopping them.”
Hatton led the Cougars with 21 for the game, and Braden Jenkins followed with 17. McIntire added 15 for the Cougars, who connected on 21 of 47 from the field (45%) and 15 of 25 from the charity stripe. North Harrison had 12 turnovers for the game, many of those coming at critical points during the contest.
“The turnovers gave them a chance to stay in the game, and it gave them a chance to win the game and really have the game under control,” Lefevre said. “Even with a big lead in the last four minutes with the way we were throwing it for them and getting easy baskets quickly makes it a worrisome situation.”
Deckard led Orleans with 19, and King threw in 11 points. The Bulldogs put in 15 of 38 field goals (39%) and 9 of 13 from the charity stripe. Orleans had just nine turnovers for the game.
“I guess when you feel you’re not doing things that well and you’re winning, I guess that means you have a lot of potential,” said the North Harrison coach. “Hopefully, we’re going to be a potential that gets realized. We talk about we could have been really strong, but it’s still early and we’ll look at this game and work on things we didn’t do well in this first game and try to help that; we can do it better.”
“We’ve got kids that are trying,” Lefevre said. “They just don’t have all the good habits that they need to to play ‘D’ really well and handle the pressure really well and all that. We have to keep working on it and hope that it gets better.”
Orleans 13 13 12 9 – 47
North Harrison 22 9 16 16 – 63
Orleans (2-3) – Deckard 19, King 11, Martin 9, Love 5, Clipp 3.
North Harrison (3-1) – Hatton 21, Jenkins 17, McIntire 15, Kellems 5, Wetzel 5.
3-point goals – Orleans 7 (Deckard 2, Martin 2, Clipp 1, King 1, Love 1); North Harrison 2 (Hatton 1, Kellems 1).