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Cougars demote Generals, 63-51

February 20, 2008
Before North Harrison's game against visiting Clarksville last Tuesday night, coach Chris Martin told his team if it came out aggressive at the beginning, it would have a good chance of beating the Generals. The Cougars did just that, using not only a solid first quarter but also a big fourth quarter to secure a 63-51 win.

North Harrison's Jordan Byrne, right, forces this Clarksville turnover against Alex Johnson in the second half of the Cougars' 63-51 win. (Photo by Wade Bell)
"Snow games, where you're out of school for a day, and Saturday afternoon games are never a good mix, where your kids haven't come out," Martin said. "They're not in their normal routine. They lay around the house all day. When I made the calls to tell them we were playing, Jim Bob (Schuler) said he was eating a big steak.

"Those games are the ones where usually the aggressive team comes out and gets a little bit of a lead. If you can contain that, then you usually have a pretty good shot at winning."

North Harrison came out blistering hot, rushing to a 13-3 lead, with Clarksville hitting just one of its first six shots. Landon Glidewell hit a three-pointer to cut into the General deficit and Tyler Merchant added a long deuce, but the Cougars still held a 13-8 advantage after one quarter.

Clarksville closed the gap to two early in the second quarter, but Jordan Byrne and Joe Bolin countered with an 8-2 burst for a 21-13 Cougar lead.

The Generals then ripped off eight unanswered points to tie the game at 21.

In the last 3:40, the teams fought back and forth. Then, with 8.4 seconds to go, Byrne connected on two free throws and the Cougars took a 28-26 edge to the locker room at halftime.

"We got stretched out a little bit defensively," Martin said. "When you're playing a zone, and we're not real big, not real physical, not real quick, teams are going to knock one down against you once in a while. When they reverse the ball, they're going to get good shots. It's the same thing we hope for when we reverse the ball."

North Harrison held only a slight edge through most of the third quarter. Merchant tied the game for the General at 28, but Will Jones swished a Cougar three in return.

Clarksville got another deuce and then T.J. Sanders and Schuler put the Cougars up by five, 35-50.

Clarksville's Robert Noe got a deuce and three to tie again. Byrne scored inside for North Harrison, but the Generals finished the quarter with six unanswered points to lead 41-39.

"In the third quarter, we tried to play their game," Martin said. "It was a sloppy, up-and-down-the-floor, trying-to-throw-the-ball-50-feet, and they've got kids that go up and get the ball."

North Harrison finally got the breakaway it needed in the fourth quarter. The Cougars began with an 8-0 run to lead 47-41 and then spread the floor for a little time management.

Glidewell got a General deuce, but the Cougars answered with a 7-2 burst. Noe scored inside for the Generals, but North Harrison finished with a 9-1 run for the 63-51 win.

"The fourth quarter, we slowed it down and kept our composure," Martin said. "Threw bounce passes, made cuts and tried to play the game more at our speed instead of playing it at their speed."

Schuler led the Cougars with 14 points, and David Geswein followed with 10. North Harrison hit 21 of 44 field goals (47 percent) and 18 of 20 free throws, including 12 in the fourth quarter. The Cougars committed 14 turnovers.

"We were 12 out of 13 the fourth quarter and shot very well for the night," Martin said. "The free-throw line was very beneficial for us tonight."

Merchant led Clarksville with 16 points, and Stephen Reeves added 10. The Generals were 20 of 60 (33 percent) from the field and 6 of 7 from the stripe. Clarksville finished with 16 turnovers.

"We've had some games where we've played eight minutes well or 13 minutes well or 20 minutes well," the North Harrison coach said. "Tonight, from start to finish, we didn't play extremely well, but I thought we kept our heads in the game. We didn't have to get on them about the little things. They kept their focus and they were able to do some things tonight. I thought we played pretty well for a 32-minute game."

Martin said his team is making gains with each game.

"We told them tonight that tonight gave us five victories at home," he said. "Starting the program off this year with me being new, getting five at home was really important to me and to these kids. I'm proud of them tonight for getting out and getting another one.

"We get a little bit better every day. We come to practice ready to play and good things happen."

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