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Cougars succumb to Musketeers, 74-67

January 20, 2010
Both North Harrison and Eastern (Pekin) shot the ball well enough to win against almost any opponent Friday night, but the visiting Musketeers shot a little better than the Cougars and took away a 74-67 win in a Mid-Southern Conference matchup.

North Harrison vs. Eastern
"They work hard day in and day out and they fight," Cougars coach Greg Walters said. "We're just making a few mistakes. I think, in the future here, in the second half of the season, we're going to be able to right some of those mistakes and we're going to be right in these ball games. We're going to keep working and getting there."

The Cougars (3-6, 0-6) worked to lead most of the first period until the Musketeers used a 9-0 run to take a 15-11 lead. Matt Bruderle then took an alley-oop pass to score, and Dylan Janes got a deuce to tie the game at 15 after one quarter.

North Harrison’s Joe Bolin drives around Eastern’s Keaton Shofner in the second half. Bolin had 17 points, but the Cougars suffered a 74-67 loss. Photo by Wade Bell
The lead changed hands four times early in the second period, then Eastern had another quick burst to lead 28-20. The Musketeers briefly took the lead to double-digits, but North Harrison cut the deficit to seven, 35-28, at halftime.

"We were down seven at the half and hung right in there and fought the whole time," Walters said. "You've got to hand it to Pekin Eastern. They're very well coached. They have some good players. (Todd) Albertson tonight has a great game and plays very well. You have to give hats off to them. They won the game, and they did the things it takes to win."

Joe Bolin and Janes put in the first five points of the second half to close the gap to 35-33. Eastern countered with an 11-4 run to go up, 46-37. The Musketeers continued to own the quarter, expanding their advantage to 52-39 with one period left.

"We've been playing a little bit of zone because we've gone with a big lineup and we were small tonight," Walters said. "That seemed to help us score a little bit. At the same time, we have a little bit of issue guarding them off the dribble. Those are things we've worked on the last couple of days of practice and we're going to continue to, and we'll get it."

North Harrison still had another run left and it came in the middle of the fourth period when Bolin scored six straight and Colin Book added two in an 8-0 burst to put North Harrison within seven, 61-54. Janes later pulled the Cougars within five as he scored inside. The Cougars would get no closer, however, as Eastern got the 74-67 win.

"They never once said this game's over," Walters said of his team. "We were talking about down six, if we can steal the inbounds and hit a three. We were out of timeouts; we've got to get the next one and keep continuing to play. They weren't quitting and they fought the entire night, and I'm really proud of the guys. We just hope to come in on the right end of some of these towards the end."

Bolin led the Cougars with 17 points, and Alex Edwards, Devin Southard and Lincoln Jones followed with 11 each. North Harrison was 24 of 48 (50 percent) from the field and 18 of 23 from the free-throw line. The Cougars finished with 13 turnovers.

"Joe Bolin played great tonight in the fourth quarter," Walters said. "I'm glad to see that. He's struggled in some games previously. He had 18 points tonight, and you've got to give him hats off. A lot of guys might have gone, 'He's averaging five points a game and shooting about 20 percent and really struggling.' Tonight, he was able to fix that and get the ship righted. I'm looking forward to the second half of the season. We're expecting big things out of him."

Albertson led Eastern with 25 points, and Cody Hurst finished with 15. Michael Doebler added 11 for the Musketeers, who were 23 of 41 (56 percent) from the field and 20 of 28 from the free-throw line. Eastern finished with 20 turnovers.

"They played the full 32 (minutes)," Walters said. "We had some guys sick tonight in the back after the game. We had two or three guys falling on the floor with a cramp. We were trying to stretch them out. We laid it all on the line tonight and just came up short."

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