Harrison Central gets past SCC

STEUBENVILLE – Normally a high-scoring powerhouse on any given night, Harrison Central showed a different, more aggressive and physical side to itself Tuesday night at Catholic Central.

The officials let the squads play and did not blow their whistles for most of the contest. There were 44 total turnovers, bodies flying everywhere and one Crusader nearly a lost his front tooth. It was ugly, but the Huskies gladly took the 59-48 victory.

“We’ve talked about how the last three or four games haven’t been high scoring and up and down. We’ve been finding other ways to win, which is a good sign,” Harrison Central head coach Justin Clifford said. “You have to dance to all of the tunes. I think we’re getting there, though we have a long, long way to go. But, we’re finding ways to win when it’s slowed down or sped up.

“Things got crazy there (at the end). We talked about bending our knees, squaring up and not letting them get all over us.”

The Huskies (9-5) had to keep up with Catholic Central’s intensity to avoid the upset. They did with 11 more rebounds (35-24) and played smart by allowing just seven free-throw attempts, which the Crusaders (7-5) made five.

On the flip side, Harrison Central knocked down 20 of 22 foul shots, with most coming in the final stanza.

“I think some folks thought we were playing a game we shouldn’t have been in. For three quarters, we were in the game,” CCHS head coach Don Ogden said. “Taking a step back, I’m really proud of the guys. In CCHS, the H is for heart, and they showed a heck-of-a lot of heart (Tuesday). They left it out there, they played hard and hopefully it pays dividends down the road.

“We get in these situations and struggle. It’s still a process, but we’re getting better. I thought we played well enough to win, but we didn’t.”

The simple answer to what the difference was revolves around Kobe Mitchell. When the Crusaders limited him to 15 points through the first three quarters, they trailed 37-34. When Mitchell scored 16 fourth-quarter points, including a 10 for 10 line from the charity stripe, the Huskies blew the doors open.

The harder answer is the numerous missed layups and close-range shots Catholic Central missed out on. Nearing the final minute, Harrison Central went on a 16-3 scoring run. During that time, the Crusaders committed 10 turnovers. The Huskies coughed it up nine times themselves but rarely were taken advantage of.

“It wasn’t pretty. We made a couple of plays when we needed to. We switched up the defense late and got our hands on a lot of balls,” Clifford said. “We didn’t convert all the time, but we made it hard for them to score late by being active and changing things up.”

Mitchell added eight points and four assists to go along with his game-high 31 points. Jon Vermillion produced seven points and 10 boards. Cabot Arbaugh contributed nine points and nine rebounds. Skylar Mazeroski added five points, three boards and three dimes.

For the Crusaders, Charles Miller had 19 points and four rebounds. Andrew Dorsey tallied 11 points, four boards and three assists. Ryan Gorman made three 3-pointers, and Vince Carapellotti chipped in five points, seven rebounds and a pair of assists.

“We worked the ball around at the end. Guys made nice moves to the bucket, then we just couldn’t finish. Unfortunately, we have nights like this,” Ogden said. “The other times, our guys will make 90 percent of those shots. In a tight game, you can’t afford to have five straight possessions (in the fourth) where you’re not productive.

“We came out very tentative because we thought if we’d pressure too much that that would lead to too many openings. But, in the second quarter, we said we had nothing to lose and to go get it. They guys did get after it.”


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