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Cougars overpower Eagles

McIntire joins 1,000-point club
Cougars overpower Eagles
Cougars overpower Eagles
Photo by Alan Stewart. North Harrison senior Logan McIntire follows through for one of his five three-pointers en route to a 36-point night Friday at home against Austin. McIntire’s effort gave him exactly 1,000 points for his career as a Cougar as North Harrison won the Mid-Southern Conference matchup, 82-63.
By Alan Stewart, Contributing Writer

On Friday night in Ramsey, the North Harrison boys’ basketball team started 2022 the same way it ended 2021: a resounding double-digit victory.

Senior Logan McIntire made it an evening to remember as he pumped in 36 points to go along with 11 rebounds as the hosts turned away an equally stellar 39-point performance by Austin’s Brysen Montgomery in an 82-63 win.

It was North Harrison’s first action on the hardwood since a 74-46 triumph over Waldron on Dec. 30 at the Batesville Tournament.

Due to a miscalculation, it wasn’t until several minutes after the game and the gymnasium had mostly cleared that McIntire found out he’d reached 1,000 points for his career as a Cougar.

After he learned he had 36 instead of the 35 he thought he’d scored, he pumped his fists into the air and started hugging family members who had already planned on his first bucket the following night at Scottsburg eclipsing 1,000. The one-point differential apparently came on his fifth triple of the game, with his final bucket about 2-1/2 minutes left, giving him the magic mark in front of an unknowing home crowd that could have shared in the celebration.

“That’s kind of anticlimactic, now” a (somewhat) disappointed North Harrison coach Lou Lefevre said after the victory.

Friday’s focus against Austin was about controlling Montgomery.

“Our strategy in this game was to have an all-out effort to keep (Montgomery) from getting chances to score. All five players were supposed to be focused on him and keeping him from getting chances to score, and we sure weren’t able to carry that out,” Lefevre said. “(Austin) ended up with 63 points and, two out of three times if you get 63 points, you win. We put up a lot of points tonight, and it ended up being an easy win. From a defensive point, we didn’t carry out our goals. (Montgomery) is a terrific player and is very tough to guard. He hit some nice shots and is a good player.”

“We’ve had a few times this year when the other team had one player significantly better than the rest, and we want to do a good job of shutting that kid down and we haven’t done a very good job doing that. That’s a little disappointing. But, we played a game offensively where we were able to put up a lot of points and maybe the players didn’t feel like they were ever really threatened and sometimes when you don’t feel like you are threatened you don’t do as great of a job as you could do in a close game … Austin hustled the whole way and stayed in it. It wasn’t a comfortable 20-point game until maybe mid to late third quarter.”

The visiting Eagles led early on a goal and a triple by Montgomery, but the Cougars went on an 11-2 run and never looked back, taking a 29-17 lead by the end of a break-neck first quarter. North Harrison shot a solid 12 of 18 (67%) from the field in the period, while Austin was 7-13 (54%).

The Cougars’ good shooting kept up throughout the game, finishing 31 of 45 from the floor (69%) and 6-17 (35%) beyond the arc.

North Harrison opened things up toward the end of the third quarter. Montgomery drained a three with 2:27 left to cut the deficit to 15, then North Harrison closed with an 11-0 run, starting with a free throw by Deven Moore, a put-back by McIntire off a missed free throw, a three-point play by Sawyer Wetzel and a dunk and buzzer-beating triple by McIntire for a 69-43 lead. The Cougars held Austin to 5-18 shooting in the quarter.

While McIntire lit it up, it was far from a one-man show for the hosts as Wetzel scored 11 of his 20 points in the first half, Riley Schneider came through with 12 points in three quarters and Ethan Oakley tossed in 11 first-half points.

“Logan had a very good game, but we had a lot of other players who had good games, too,” Lefevre said. “Riley, I think, got more points tonight than he had cumulatively all season. He gave us a big boost on offense. Sawyer gave us a big boost. We got complimentary help from those guys, and that makes for a more rounded team instead of having to rely on only one player. It was good.”

“There were a lot of hustle plays, hustle saves, good passes, offensive rebounds. You are never going to score on 80% of your shots but, if you can score on 80% of your possessions because you are offensively rebounding, then you have a good offense and I’d say that’s where a lot of our scoring came from so that’s a good thing going forward.”

North Harrison had 35 rebounds while Austin, which finished 26 of 58 (45%) from the field, pulled down 31 boards. The Eagles were 9-28 (32%) on triples on the night. Attacking the basket instead of taking outside shots also resulted in the hosts getting to the line 25 times, hitting 14; Austin was 2 for 3 at the foul stripe.

After a 56-52 overtime win at Scottsburg on Saturday, the Cougars’ next home affair will be Friday night against Eastern (Pekin), which has surged to an 11-1 mark and 2-1 in the Mid-Southern Conference for third place behind North Harrison. The leader in the MSC is Brownstown Central (8-2, 3-0), which already has a double-overtime win over the Cougars (7-2, 4-1) but has yet to face the Musketeers. Eastern dispatched defending state champion Silver Creek on Friday night, 65-59, and defeated Austin on Saturday, 78-61.

“(Eastern) beating Silver Creek isn’t that much of a surprise to me,” Lefevre said. “They’ve got a good mix of players.”

Austin 17 14 12 20 – 63
North Harrison 29 19 21 13 – 82
Austin – Montgomery 39, Furnish 7, Coomer 7, Hanner 5, Barton 3, Swank 2.
North Harrison – McIntire 36, Wetzel 20, Schneider 12, Oakley 11, Hoehn 2, Moore 1.
3-point goals – Austin 9 (Montgomery 5, Barton 1, Coomer 1, Furnish 1, Hanner, 1); North Harrison 6 (McIntire 5, Oakley 1).