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Cougars rip apart Rams

Cougars rip apart Rams
Cougars rip apart Rams
North Harrison senior Braden Jenkins (32) draws a foul as he goes in for a layup in the second half against Paoli.
Wade Bell, Sports Writer

The North Harrison Cougars ripped apart the visiting Paoli Rams last Tuesday night and got a 62-51 win. The Cougars hope the win will give them some sling-shot momentum as they prepare for Corydon Central tonight (Wednesday) in the Corydon Central sectional.

“You want to be playing teams that are strong at this time of the year, and our last two games came against teams that are pretty strong in playing at Providence and playing Paoli here,” said North Harrison coach Lou Lefevre. “You want to have to play well this time of year to win, not to just show up against a team that’s struggling and get by. So, it was good we could outplay them.

“If we’re really a team that’s a contender, we also have to understand that we could have done better. We need to do better, and there were mistakes that were made that didn’t have to be made,” he said. “Only if we can get to the point where we can eliminate eight or 10 different mistakes that didn’t need to be made we could be a team that’s got a good chance to advance and win a championship.”

The Cougars had a much hotter hand than the Rams to begin the game, and the North Harrison defense was making it difficult for Paoli to get a good look at the basket. The Cougars first established a 10-5 lead, but Paoli came back within three following a pair of free throws by Hobie Bobbitt. The momentum played to North Harrison’s favor, and the Cougars charged with a 9-2 run to lead 19-9. Parker Sullivan got one of those back with a freebie, but Langdon Hatton countered with a pair from the stripe. The Cougars were up 21-10 after one quarter.

Brett Bosley put his own run together to start the second quarter, getting six to North Harrison’s two and cutting the lead to seven, 23-16. Hatton countered with two more from the charity stripe. The Rams finished the period with a 6-2 burst, and the Cougars’ lead was sliced to four, 27-23, at halftime.

Lefevre said the defensive focus was going to be on Bosley and Sullivan.

“(Bosley) is their best player, and we really wanted to focus on him,” Lefevre said. “They had two really good shooters. (Sullivan) didn’t get anything. I thought he was a terrific shooter in the film I watched. He didn’t get any open looks. Maybe we did a wonderful job, or maybe he wasn’t looking for it tonight.

“(Bosley) is a tremendous player. He was their top player last year, and they had two other 1,000-point scorers on their team last year from what their coach told me,” North Harrison’s coach said. “He’s really talented. He does it all. He can drive. He can shoot. He can score in the post. He hurt us in the post a little bit. He got a couple of open looks, but we did a decent job on him.”

Paoli missed its first three shots of the third quarter, then the two teams went through a two-minute swap meet. Bosley then fired in a three-ball and later converted for two more, closing the gap to one, 31-30. Logan McIntire drilled a three, putting the Cougars’ lead back to four. Moments later, Sawyer Wetzel, Hatton and Braden Jenkins combined for a 10-2 run, and the Cougars had a 44-34 lead with one quarter to go.

Hatton started the final period with a rafter-rattling dunk, bringing the Cougar Crazies to life. Jenkins followed with two more, but Paoli countered with four to pull the Rams back within 10. McIntire sandwiched a pair of long threes around a Bobbitt deuce, putting the Cougars’ lead to 14. John Moon got a single from the stripe, but that was quickly negated when Hatton rattled the rafters again for his second dunk of the night. McIntire drilled a third three, and North Harrison was up 60-42. The Rams made only a slight gain in the final minutes, and the Cougars finished their regular season with a 62-51 win.

“It was a good night for the teammates that helped Braden go out a winner,” Lefevre said. “Logan hit some big threes in the second half to keep us ahead as they were trying to claw back. It was four at half. Logan eventually got some looks and made them. That was big. Braden does what he does, which is finishing plays around the basket. It was a good team effort against a good team.”

Hatton led North Harrison with 21 points, and McIntire finished with 17, drilling five threes in the process. Jenkins hit for 12, and Wetzel added 10 for the Cougars, who were 23 of 41 from the field (56%) and 11 of 17 from the free-throw line. North Harrison had 10 turnovers for the 32 minutes.

“As long as LT is ready with high hands, he’s tough to shoot over,” Lefevre said. “Sometimes he hasn’t been, but he was there pretty much all of the time tonight and kind of frustrated (Bosley) and made him miss more often than he would miss. LT did a nice job on the offensive boards making some really aggressive big rebounds inside and scores.”

Bosley led the Rams with 23 points, and Bobbitt followed with 15. Paoli connected on 15 of 36 field goals (42%) and 13 of 20 free throws. The Rams finished with nine turnovers in the 32 minutes.

“He ended up in the 20s, so he was the focal point of their offense,” Lefevre said of Bosley. “He didn’t score at will. We had a kid from Clarksville get 28 points by halftime shooting layups. Now that’s a kid who’s tearing you apart. So, (Bosley) got his points but I think we could have done a few things more that would have limited him to dominate the game that we didn’t want to have happen.”

“Shooting over tall kids, (Bosley) is a tall kid himself but tall kids don’t often have to shoot over taller kids. It’s because they’re usually taller than everybody, in high school at least. That kid is listed at 6-6, so LT has got three or four inches on him. You’re not used to it. You don’t get that in practice a lot.”

The Cougars’ focus must now switch to county-rival Corydon Central tonight (Wednesday) in a first-round game of the Corydon Central sectional. North Harrison won the regular-season match up, but Lefevre said when it comes to the tournament everything goes back to 0-0.

“It’s a tough game,” he said. “We beat Corydon during the year, so that sometimes makes it a little harder to beat them again because the players are saying, ‘We already beat them. We know we can beat them.’ Plus, you’re playing them at their gym, our biggest rival at their gym, so it’s a tough game.

“If you look at their record, we have a better record, but I went through that last year. We were the team with a wonderful record that got beat by a team with a not so wonderful record. It happens all the time all over the state,” the Cougars’ coach continued. “But, it doesn’t happen to the tough-minded, hard-nosed teams that really understand what they have to do. So, hopefully, that will be us and we get to advance and see what we do if we earn a second game.”

Paoli                               10   13   11   17 – 51

North Harrison              21     6   17   18 – 62

Paoli (18-4) – Bosley 23, Bobbitt 15, Busick 9, Moon 3, Sullivan 1.

North Harrison (17-5) – Hatton 21, McIntire 17, Jenkins 12, Wetzel 10, Fessel 2.

3-point goals – Paoli 4 (Bosley 4); North Harrison 5 (McIntire 5).