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Pioneers roll over Cougars

February 25, 2009
It wasn't the best of shooting nights for the North Harrison boys' basketball team Friday as visiting Providence rolled their Pioneer wagons over the Cougars for a 60-41 win.

North Harrison senior Will Jones, left, tries to steal the ball from Providence's Tucker Coots in the second half of the Cougars' 60-41 loss. (Photos by Wade Bell)
The Cougars have improved over the last few games, but with North Harrison playing the first game of the Crawford County Sectional Tuesday night, coach Chris Martin said there are things to work on before the mayhem begins.

"Our kids play hard," Martin said. "There's a lot of improvement where our passing has got so much better. We hit the guys on the post so much better. Early in the year, if we hit the guy in the post one time or two times a night, we thought it was a pretty good night. … Now, when we learn to convert those and our shooters learn to make them when we kick it back out, that makes us even that much better."

Providence established an eight-point lead early by using the three-ball. The Cougars tried to inch their way back in the game, but the Pioneers put blockades in the way, drawing back-to-back charges on the Cougars midway through the second period. By the end of the first half, North Harrison found itself with a nine-point deficit at 24-15.

"We've missed a lot of stuff under the basket a lot of nights," Martin said. "Our kids work to get good shots. It's just we're not real strong on finishing yet. Our kids are getting better. We've gotten better the last five or six games."

Providence established a double-digit lead early in the third quarter, but a 6-0 Cougar burst pulled North Harrison within nine, 37-28, following a pair of freebies by Jarod Richards.

The Pioneers, however, connected on eight straight free throws in an 8-2 burst to balloon the lead to 45-30. From there, Providence put their wagons in cruise control and went on for the 60-41 win.

Patrick Henry Hughes and the University of Louisville Red Rage perform with the North Harrison High School pep band Friday night during the Cougars' game against visiting Providence.
"We were down the middle to the latter part of the third (quarter) and had a layup that didn't go and they hit four free throws right after that that put them up 12," Martin said. "It was one of those situations where it just didn't roll in. We've missed a lot of those this season. If you get one bucket there, you're at six. They do such a nice job creating the foul shots and moving the ball. "

T.J. Sanders led North Harrison (3-17, 2-7 Mid-Southern Conference) with eight points. The Cougars hit just 15 of 44 (34 percent) attempts from the field and 9 of 17 free throws. However, North Harrison coughed up the ball just 10 times.

"Dylan (Janes) does a nice job penetrating, Chad (Eveslage) does a nice job, Devin (Southard) does a nice job, if those guys can break the first line, they are very unselfish," Martin said. "They can get to the rim and find guys. I thought we did a nice job of getting by their pressure they put on us."

Tyler Coots and Bryce Very led Providence with 15 points each, and David Schellenberger followed with 12. Providence was 18 of 37 (48 percent) from the field and 18 of 24 from the free-throw line. The Pioneers committed just eight turnovers.

"They are machines," Martin said of the Pioneer free-throw shooters. "They do everything fundamentally the way every coach would like to see his kids do it. Coach (Louis) Lafevre does a nice job getting his kids to understand they're not real big, they're not all real strong, they're not all great basketball players, but they play so well as a team."

The Cougars will meet the Salem Lions in the opening game of the Crawford County Sectional Tuesday night. The Lions are considered the favorite to win the sectional.

"They've played well all season and at one time they had won at least 10 in a row," Martin said. "They're a really nice ball club. We've got to find a way to slow them down offensively."

"You're going to have to beat them in some point in time," he said. "This gives us the most time to prepare for the best team. Can we prepare enough and be competitive with them? I don't know, but I'll guarantee we'll give it an effort."

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