North Harrison length too much for Lanesville
George Browning, Sports Writer, [email protected]
North Harrison’s boys’ basketball team got dominant performances from the interior in a 70-59 win Friday night at Lanesville.
Landon Hatton, who is 6-foot-10, scored 23 points, and Braden Jenkins, who checks in at 6-foot-5, added 16 while helping the Cougars gain a 33-16 rebounding on the boards.
“We got a lot of second chances,” said North Harrison coach Lou Lefevre. “Their effort was good going after the ball and going through contact. There were times when (Jenkins and Hatton) got hit, but they finished the shot anyway. That was big for us. The offensive rebounding has been our saving grace this year; without it, we wouldn’t have many wins at all.”
Lanesville coach Mikel Miller agreed that the Cougars’ size was too much for his team to deal with.
“They doubled us up in rebounding, and you aren’t going to win many games when those numbers are like that,” Miller said. “Their height gave us fits. It’s hard to prepare for their size when you don’t have anyone that tall to practice against. We have to do better than we did tonight.”
The saving grace of North Harrison’s rebounding is an equalizer to the team’s inability to handle pressure defenses. The press gave the Cougars fits throughout Friday’s contest. Lefevre said until his team improves handling pressure, it’s going to see more and more of it.
“Everybody’s press gives us trouble,” he said. “In practice, even our JV press gives us trouble. We are not good at handling the press, and teams are going to continue to press us in some way because it disrupts what we are trying to do. We are cashing in with more opportunities when teams press us than we did early in the year, but it’s something that is one of our Achilles heels. Lanesville’s press turned this game around.”
North Harrison lead by five at halftime, 32-27, but turned up its own defensive pressure in the half court and kept the Eagles from scoring.
Trip Dillion III hit two free throws in the opening seconds of the third quarter for Lanesville, but it was nearly four minutes later until the Eagles were able to score again.
While the Eagles were not scoring, North Harrison expanded its lead. Sawyer Wetzel hit a three, and Jenkins missed a free throw that would have converted a three the old-fashioned way. Jenkins’ basket put the Cougars up 37-29.
Mason Miller hit one of two free throws for the Eagles, but it only paused the North Harrison spurt.
The Cougars got four more points from Jenkins, Hatton hit two free throws after grabbing an offensive rebound and getting fouled on the put-back attempt and Kaleb Kellems hit two free throws that stretched the advantage to 15, 45-30.
Jonas Powers hit a free throw and scored a basket chipping away to get Lanesville within 12, 45-33, and set up his team for a run in the final eight minutes.
“We just didn’t move the ball well,” coach Miller said of his team’s lack of production in the third quarter. “Our movement wasn’t very good either. We did a lot of standing around. Credit to North, they were part of the reason for our struggle, but we’ve got to learn and get better with our screening because it was not very good tonight.”
In the opening minutes of the final frame, Hatton scored again after grabbing an offensive board and Powers hit two free throws for the Eagles and North Harrison got two at the free-throw line from Wetzel.
Miller scored two of his 11 points for Lanesville, and Connor Nolot hit two free throws that got them to within 12, 51-39, with 6:11 remaining in the fourth quarter.
A basket by Griffen Reynolds was followed by a three from Ethan Schickel, and the Eagles were on the move and back in the game down seven, 51-44.
Reynolds got a steal that lead to an and-one for Schickel that trimmed the margin to four, 51-47.
Hatton stemmed the tide for North Harrison by scoring off another offensive rebound, and the Eagles were never able to get closer than five points the rest of the way. The Cougars closed the game by hitting 8 of 13 free throws in the final two minutes.
Lefevre wasn’t happy with his team allowing 59 points, but he said at times they played solid defense against Lanesville.
“When we were able to build up a lead, it was because we were stopping them, which we didn’t do at all in the first half,” he said. “We didn’t do it in the fourth quarter either. (In the fourth quarter), we were needlessly fouling them, and, when you are ahead, you don’t want to give them a free two points and you don’t want to stop the clock. We wanted to make them hit difficult shots, but we just kept fouling, and those free throws allowed them to set up their pressure defense and those things are a recipe to get beat. We were fortunate it didn’t happen that way.”
North Harrison’s focus defensively was to stop Nolot, who finished the game for the Eagles with nine points. That total is well below his season average. With Nolot being bottled up, others took advantage. Dillion led Lanesville with 13 points, Mason Miller scored 11 and Reynolds tossed in 10.
Coach Miller said it was nice to see Reynolds have the kind of game he had.
“Griffen was the spark that helped us make the charge,” Miller said. “It was nice to see that for him. He had been battling sickness for the last month. It was good to see him look like his old self in there.”
The Cougars followed Friday’s win with an 83-69 victory Saturday against Salem.
Lanesville lost 60-40 at Clarksville on Saturday.
North Harrison 18 14 15 23 – 70
Lanesville 18 9 6 26 – 59
North Harrison (10-5) – Langdon Hatton 23, Braden Jenkins 18, Sawyer Wetzel 15, Logan McIntire 12, Kaleb Kellems 2.
Lanesville (8-8) – Trip Dillion III 13, Mason Miller 11, Griffen Reynolds 10, Connor Nolot 9, Justin Bailey 6, Jonas Powers 5, Ethan Schickle 3, Jacob Wernert 2.
3-point goals – North Harrison 2 (McIntire 1, Wetzel 1); Lanesville 5 (Miller 2, Dillion 1, Reynolds 1, Schickel 1).