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North Harrison loses heartbreaker at Paoli

March 02, 2011
The Cougars of North Harrison and Rams of Paoli were like two starving animals going into their game last Tuesday night at Paoli. The Cougars hadn't won since Dec. 28, when they topped Mitchell by 12 points, and the Rams' only win of the season came against Christian Academy of Indiana on Dec. 11.

After 32 minutes of hard-fought play, the Rams found their appetite somewhat satisfied with a 44-40 win as the Cougars will have to continue to find a way to fill their bellies.

North Harrison’s Tyler Bement splits two Paoli defenders en route to two of his eight second-half points. Photo by Wade Bell
"It's disappointing, but we will continue to work," North Harrison coach Greg Walters said.

The Cougars took an initial 5-2 lead but then missed six of their next seven shots. Paoli, on the other hand, missed its first shot but cashed in five of its next six attempts. Two of the Cougars' field goals were three's, however, and kept North Harrison in the game, down 12-10 after the first period.

North Harrison point guard Josh Wenning spent most of the second period on the sidelines after suffering a cut next to his left eye chasing down a loose ball.

Paoli's Tanner Wroblewski and the Cougars' Cory Smith traded three's early. Paoli countered with a 7-0 burst to lead 22-13. Tyler Bement scored inside for North Harrison, but Wroblewski finished the half with two singles following Colin Book's third foul, and the Rams took a 24-15 lead to the locker room at halftime.

"I didn't think we played very well to start the game," Walters said.

The Cougars also had turnover problems in the half, committing five in the second period alone.

"From veteran players who you wouldn't think would be turning the ball over in this particular game," he said. "They did."

Both teams traded buckets early in the third period, but fouls began to mount for the Cougars, with Dylan Janes being called for his third and Book his fourth. Jones, however, closed the North Harrison deficit to seven as he scored inside. Later, Corey Smith, after being fouled by Wroblewski, added three free throws for the Cougars to close the gap to four.

Bement later scored to close the gap to two, but Aaron Key countered for Paoli. Bement and Austin Nolot each got buckets in the paint to tie the game at 28, but Xavier Harkness sank a rainbow three at the buzzer, which was disputed by the Cougar bench to no avail, to give the Rams a 31-28 lead with one quarter left in the game.

"We fought back there in the second half," Walters said.

Paoli started the fourth quarter with a turnover, and Bement converted to close the gap to one. With 5:04 left, Smith sank two more freebies, and the Cougars went back on top 32-31. Book later gave the Cougars a three-point edge, but Wroblewski got an old-fashioned three to tie the game again.

Janes scored for North Harrison, but Clay Burnett fired in a three-ball to put Paoli back on top, 37-36, forcing the Cougars to call time-out. Following a Jones miss inside, Book drew his fifth foul, and Wroblewski cashed in both free throws. Bement misfired next, and Key added two to the Paoli total for a 41-36 Ram lead.

Janes then pulled the Cougars to within three. Following another North Harrison time-out, the Cougars' Dakota Bosler then drew his third foul, and Caleb Andry got one of two from the stripe to give Paoli a four-point lead. The Cougars misfired on a three, but Smith got the put-back again to close the gap to two, 42-40.

Paoli's Burnette connected on just one of two free-throw attempts to allow the Cougars to stay within three points. North Harrison fired up a three and a deuce but missed on both.

North Harrison (3-16, 0-9 Mid-Southern Conference) stayed alive as Wroblewski missed two free throws. Following the Cougars' final time-out with 15.7 seconds left, Wenning put up a three, but the shot missed its mark. Janes was called for his fifth foul, and Burnett sealed the victory with a free throw, as the Rams' student body charged the floor to celebrate the team's first win in 15 games.

"We drew up a play in the break, and I thought we had a good look out of it, but we didn't shoot it," Walters said. "We didn't realize how much time was on the clock and took a bad shot."

Smith led the Cougars with 13 points, and Bement came off the bench for 8 in the second half. North Harrison shot 15 of 44 (34 percent) from the field, 5 of 6 from the stripe and had 13 turnovers.

"Tyler played really well," Walters said of Bement. "Some of the younger guys played well."

Wroblewski led Paoli (2-17) with 14 points, and Key had 11. Paoli canned 15 of 32 field-goal attempts (47 percent) and 11 of 25 free throws. The Rams had 17 turnovers for 32 minutes.

"We've still got a couple of games left in the season, and there's no quit in me," Walters said. "Hopefully, there's no quit in the kids. So, we'll continue to try and, hopefully, maybe one of these outcomes will be different."

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