Harrison eliminates Barnesville

BYESVILLE – Harrison Central used a 10-2 run to end the first half as a springboard to a 58-46 triumph against Barnesville on Wednesday night in an Ohio Division III boys’ basketball sectional tournament opener inside Meadowbrook High School.

The Huskies (13-10) return to Guernsey County next Wednesday for a tilt against OVAC Class 3A champion Fort Frye. Tip is 7 p.m. The Cadets knocked off West Muskingum, 73-36, in Wednesday night’s opener.

Harrison Central head coach Justin Clifford had mixed emotions regarding the victory, which was cemented after his squad held the Shamrocks to six points in the fourth quarter.

”We did some good things and got in the right spots and did what we were supposed to do,” he said. ”But we didn’t finish a lot, to be honest.

”We weren’t here for style points or anything, but the way we’ve been playing and practicing I guess I just expected a little different.”

Clifford was dismayed with his team’s performance at the free throw line (7 of 22), along with a slew of missed layups, etc. Basically, he didn’t think his team put the nail in Barnesville’s coffin like it could’ve.

”But the good thing is we found a way to win,” he said. ”It’s tournament time. Survive and advance. You can’t fault (my player’s) effort, though. They played so hard.

”I told them that’s probably what won us the game.”

Clifford called time with 4:46 remaining in the second period after Barnesville’s Darrien Decker tied the game at 18-18 with a layup. The Huskies scored the next 10 points, grabbing a 28-18 advantage before the Rocks’ Zach Houston stopped the bleeding with a jumper with less than a minute to go before halftime.

Kalub Mitchell scored four points during Harrison Central’s surge, caused, in part, by the team’s relentless defensive pressure and physical play.

All told, the Huskies helped force Barnesville into 39 turnovers.

”Our defensive pressure bothered them a little bit,” Clifford said. ”But we can’t rely on that every game.

”We’re going to be playing a pretty good team next week and we’ll have to finish a lot better than we did (Wednesday). If we don’t, I don’t like our chances. If we do, we’ll see where the chips fall.”

The Huskies stretched their lead to double-digits during the third quarter before Barnesville (5-17) came roaring back with an 8-2 run to end the period.

David Stewart scored four points during the spurt before Eric Nicholson sneaked in a layup before the buzzer making the score 46-40.

But any momentum gained was lost in the fourth with the low scoring output. Meanwhile, the Huskies went ahead 51-42 on a Mitchell layup with 4:01 left and were never threatened.

”Missed opportunities,” Barnesville head coach Chris Pack said. ”We had plenty of chances to do what we needed to do to win the ballgame. We just didn’t make enough plays.

”We had the score 46-40 to start the fourth and we forced four or five turnovers and came down and missed the front end of a couple 1-and-1s and we don’t get any points out of it.

”We just couldn’t make a shot when we needed it.”

Stewart and Nicholson both finished with 12 points, while Houston had 11.

Mitchell the winners with 14. Cory Yoho added 13 points and Nate Olmstead canned four treys for 12.


BARNESVILLE (58) – Nicholson 4 3-3 12; Wells 0 0-0 0; Hannahs 0 0-0 0; Decker 2 0-0 4; Clark 1 1-3 3; Stewart 4 2-2 12; McGee 1 2-2 4; Z.Houston 5 1-2 11. Totals 17 9-12 46. HARRISON CENTRAL (46) – K.Mitchell 6 2-2 14; Kowalski 2 2-5 8; Johnson 0 0-0 0; B.Mitchell 1 2-7 4; Rutter 0 0-1 0; Redish 3 1-3 7; Evans 0 0-0 0; Yoho 6 0-4 13; Olmstead 4 0-0 12. Totals 22 7-22 58.

3-Point Goals: B – Stewart (2), Nicholson; H – Olmstead (4), Kowalski (2), Yoho.

Thorp can be reached at rthorp@timesleaderonline.com