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Tough test: Cougars split with pair of aces

Tough test: Cougars split with pair of aces
Tough test: Cougars split with pair of aces
North Harrison 6-10 senior Langdon Hatton and Barr-Reeve 6-9 senior Curt Hopf battle for position near the basket during the first half of the FORUM Tipoff Classic at Southport Saturday night. Hatton had 17 points and joined the 1,000-point club for his career. Photos by Chris Timberlake
Chris Timberlake, Staff Writer, [email protected]

The North Harrison Cougars split a pair of games over the weekend against top-ranked teams, besting Class 3A Silver Creek on Friday night in Ramsey and losing to Class 1A Barr-Reeve on Saturday in the FORUM Tipoff Classic at Southport.

“It was an exciting win,” North Harrison coach Lou Lefevre said, referring to the 63-61 victory over Silver Creek. “The kind of win you wish you had the weekend to savor it a little but you’ve got to get up early and start preparing for the next No. 1 team that we’re going to play.”

Tough test: Cougars split with pair of aces
Barr-Reeve guard Brycen Graber passes over a trap by North Harrison’s Logan McIntire, left, and Kaleb Kellems during the second half.

Senior big man Langdon Hatton poured in 25 points to pace the Cougars against the Dragons. Sophomore Sawyer Wetzel added 14, and junior Logan McIntire scored 10.

“We had a whole lot of contributing efforts from a lot of players,” said Lefevre. “L.T. (Hatton) had a lot of points. They did everything they could to take Logan out of the game, the same way Barr-Reeve did, and a lot of other people picked up the slack. We had a big game from Sawyer Wetzel and Brody Fessel, who started his first game. Ethan Oakley played his first game with significant minutes in a year and hit some big free throws at the end to ice the game.”

Silver Creek played without Purdue University signee and Mr. Basketball hopeful Trey Kaufman, who is currently sidelined by an ankle injury.

Kooper Jacobi, who is headed to Toledo, scored a game-high 29 points for the Dragons.

Silver Creek also competed in the Southport event on Saturday night, dropping a 94-84 double-overtime decision to Class 2A’s top-ranked Fort Wayne Blackhawk.

The Barr-Reeve matchup proved to be far more troublesome for the Cougars, who never led in the game after falling behind 6-0 on two inside buckets by Curt Hopf and a layup by Brycen Graber.

Hopf, who stands 6-9 and is headed to Bellarmine University next season, led the Vikings with 20 points.

Hatton did his best to keep the Cougars in it, scoring 13 of their 15 first-half points on a night in which he joined the 1,000-point club.

“That team is just a lot better than us,” said Lefevre. “They’ve got five weapons on offense with no weaknesses. And that point guard — No. 22 Graber — that’s the best point guard I’ve seen in years.

“I’m sure not a lot of people say best point guard around maybe in this state, but I haven’t seen anybody better. That’s a kid who just slices teams apart. He sees the entire court on every drive. He makes perfect passes every play. He’s always under control. He just tore our team apart.”

The Vikings opened a 31-15 lead on a Hopf dunk early in the second half. North Harrison rattled off an 8-1 run on a Hatton bucket and a pair of McIntire three-pointers to cut the deficit to 32-23. Barr-Reeve responded with a 12-4 run to make it 44-27 by the start of the fourth quarter.

“We played pretty much an average game, and they played their regular game and they’re just 20 points better than us. That’s all there is to it.” said Lefevre. “You hope your team is ready to work hard and start chipping away so maybe a month from now we’re only 10 points worse than them and then maybe by playoff time we’d be really good, too, but we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

The game capped a stretch of schedule in which the Cougars have played three straight against a team ranked first or second in its class. North Harrison will carry a 2-2 record into a key Mid-Southern Conference matchup with Brownstown on Friday night.

“When we got beat by Heritage Hills, we were able to look at that game and say, ‘Hey, we have to be able to do this, this and that,’ and some of those things we did significantly better last night against Silver Creek, and it helped us win. And, hopefully, we can do the same thing here.”

Silver Creek                  12   11   24   14 – 61

North Harrison             15   16   18   14 – 63

Silver Creek (3-1, 2-1) – Jacobi 29, Northern 17, Gilbert 5, Hinton 5, Schoen 4, Garten 1.

North Harrison (2-1, 1-0) – Hatton 25, Wetzel 14, McIntire 10, Fessel 9, Kellems 3, Oakley 2.

3-point field goals – Silver Creek 4 (Jacobi 2, Gilbert 1, Northern 1); North Harrison 1 (Hatton 1).

Barr-Reeve                    11   15   18   17 – 61

North Harrison                8     7   12   11 – 38

Barr-Reeve (4-0) – Hopf 20, H. Knepp 14, B. Graber 9, Kidwell 6, D. Graber 5, Miller 5, Thompson 2.

North Harrison (2-2) – Hatton 17, McIntire 8, Wetzel 6, Walters 3, Fessel 2, Oakley 2.

3-point goals – Barr-Reeve 7 (Hopf 2, Kidwell 2, D. Graber 1, H. Knepp 1,  Miller 1); North Harrison 3 (McIntire 2, Walters 1).