NH can't break Pioneer 'D'
February 20, 2008
In a game that at times more resembled football than basketball Friday night, the North Harrison Cougars fell victim to a physically defensive Providence Pioneer team, 58-32.
"It was an interesting evening," Cougar coach Chris Martin said. "It was not one of those nights where I would have not wanted to have been out there tonight. No bigger than I am physically, I'm glad someone else was out there tonight getting beat and banged around, on both sides."
|Providence's Jake Koetter has his arm in the wrong place at the wrong time as he tries to swipe the ball from North Harrison's David Geswein in the first half. Koetter was called for the foul. (Photo by Wade Bell)|
Most of the first quarter was a tightly contested matchup, but late in the period Providence pulled out a 6-2 burst to lead 13-8 after eight minutes.
The Pioneers picked things up in the second quarter, beginning the period with an 8-2 run to lead 21-10.
Chad Eveslage got two of those back at the stripe, and Cody Johnson knocked down a long deuce to pull the Cougars within seven.
Jake Koetter swished a Providence deuce, but Jim Bob Schuler countered with a three-ball. The Pioneers' John Hardin, however, found the back door with just under a minute to go in the half.
The Cougars had two opportunities to close the gap, but misfired on both, and the Pioneers held a 25-17 lead at the half.
North Harrison had just five shot attempts in the first period, but Martin said there were two ways that could be looked at.
"I thought we did a nice job running our offense in the first quarter," he said. "When we turned it over, I thought we reacted to the pressure. There are going to be quarters in a game where you don't get a lot of shots. I thought our ball movement was good. I'd much rather have the ball movement and the five shots in the first quarter than the run-around-like-chickens-with-our-heads-cut-off in the third and fourth quarters, where we didn't get good shots. There's a difference in shots and good shots."
The physicality of the game picked up dramatically in the third period with strong eye contact being made by players on both sides.
Providence began with an 8-2 burst to lead 33-19. Schuler and Johnson countered with deuces, but the Pioneers weren't giving up any ground, with Koetter and David Schellenberger scoring inside. Koetter added another deuce late in the period, and Providence held a 39-23 lead.
Martin said he wasn't worried about his players letting the physicality of the game turn into something worse.
"Our guys are too nice," he said. "We're not going to get into any fighting. I was proud of our guys for standing up and playing physical, but I didn't think it was going to get out of hand.
"They happen in certain situations, but I think tonight, if they had shoved one of our guys, we probably would have hugged them or done something and said, 'We don't want to do this,' " Martin said. "We've got kids that play extremely hard, but they're just not meanies."
Providence began the fourth quarter with five quick points to put the gap over 20, 44-23. The Pioneers gave up no ground after that and went on for a 58-32 win.
"They're very good defensively," Martin said. "They will play what the officials will let them play, and when the officials call it tight, then they back off and play good defense. When the officials let them play, they will go the next step, and they're very good at it.
"They rotate well, get in the passing lanes very well. They cause you to throw 25-foot passes instead of 12-foot passes. When you throw that 25-foot pass, it enables them to come in and get a steal or two every once in a while, and they do a good job at it."
Schuler led North Harrison with nine points. The Cougars were 14 of 37 (37 percent) from the field, 3 of 10 from the free-throw line, and committed 17 turnovers.
"When the bumps came and we got frustrated, all they had to do was half a ball fake and we were flying to get the steal and put on great defensive pressure," Martin said. "They'd take one or two dribbles and draw the rest of the guys and make little bounce passes.
"It seemed like every time we gave up a layup, we also got a foul on (our) team. We gave them a three-point opportunity. They continued to play their game, and we got out of our game."
Leist Mathew led Providence with 13 points, and Nick Koetter and Chance Clark followed with 11 each. The Pioneers connected on 22 of 38 field goals (57 percent) and 12 of 17 free throws. Providence made 12 turnovers.
Despite the lopsided loss, Martin said he didn't consider the game a setback.
"This is a great learning experience," he said. "If you want to win in March, which everyone in the state wants to win in March, this is a good building game to show you how physical it's going to be when you play teams in the sectional.
"I don't know if we're good enough to win a sectional, but I know everyone gets a chance to win one. This a great opportunity for us to see the physical play and how we're going to respond to it."
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