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North Harrison junior Collin Book looks for an open teammate as Lanesville’s Chris Gayhart (24) and Gregory Lieber (33) defend in the second half of Friday night’s game in Ramsey. Photo by Alan Stewart

First-quarter burst carries Lanesville past NH

March 02, 2011
Friday was a long night in Ramsey, from the introduction of dozens and dozens of elementary school students, to honoring long-time girls' junior high basketball coach Jerry Melton, who retired from coaching this year, to the introduction of the 2010 Big East Freshman of the Year in cross country, Tyler Byrne, and finally the honoring of the 2010 North Harrison boys' cross country team, which placed seventh at the state final.

It also proved to be a long night for the Cougars boys' basketball team, which couldn't overcome a fast start by visiting Lanesville and dropped its 15th consecutive decision. Eight of the losses during the slide, including Friday's 60-50 margin, have been by 10 points or less.

"That's kind of been the story of our year," Cougars coach Greg Walters said. "We hang around, we hang around and we hang around, and then we can't get that big play to get over the hump."

A first-quarter burst — sparked by 12 points in the period from Lanesville senior guard Gregory Lieber — proved to be the tipping point as North Harrison closed out the regular-season slate with the 10-point loss.

Lieber finished with a game-high 22 points, and senior guard Chris Gayhart scored 19, including hitting 11 of 15 foul shots in the final period, to power the visiting Eagles to victory.

Overshadowed by the loss was a career night for Cougar senior Lincoln Jones, who shared high-scoring honors with 22 points to go along with a whopping 20 rebounds. Jones' effort helped the Cougars completely thrash Lanesville on the boards, 43-14.

Lanesville (12-9) jumped out to an 8-2 lead on a pair of free throws from Kevin Zollman and back-to-back treys from Caleb Caldwell and Lieber.

After a time-out by the Cougars (3-17), Dakota Bosler drilled one from long range to trim the deficit to three. From there, however, Lanesville rattled off a 10-4 run to close the first period on top, 18-9.

In the second frame, North's only spurt came midway through the period as Jones, Dylan Janes and Corey Smith strung together several baskets to give the Cougars the lead, 26-21. The Eagles closed with another small burst to keep the margin at 10 at halftime, 32-22.

The difference stayed mostly the same through much of the third quarter, but a bucket by Cougar junior Collin Book and a trey by Smith brought North Harrison to within two possessions, 42-36.

After two free throws from Gayhart to start the final stanza, Janes and Book teamed up again to make it a five-point game, 44-39. It was as close as the Cougars would get the rest of the way.

"We were not as efficient as we needed to be, especially at the free-throw line," Walters said. "This is a good group of kids, though, and they are still enthusiastic about playing. It would be easy to be down with the record that we have, but they are learning to be better basketball players. Even there at the end, there were situations where the kids were learning."

Lanesville shot 17 of 32 (53 percent) from the field, including 6 of 14 on threes, and hit 20 of 32 foul shots. Lanesville committed 13 turnovers while forcing 18.

Lanesville's next leading scorers were Zollman with seven and Alec Turner with five.

The hosts went 17 of 52 (33 percent) from the floor, hit 5 of 18 from beyond the arc and sank 11 of 17 foul shots.

After Jones' 22 points, Janes scored seven and Smith and Austin Nolot both had six points apiece.

North Harrison (3-17, 0-9 Mid-Southern Conference) will open play in the Class 3A Salem Sectional tonight (Wednesday) at 6 against Charlestown. The Pirates (16-4) defeated North in the regular season, 72-56, on Feb. 10.

Lanesville will kick off play in the Class 1A Henryville Sectional tonight at about 7:30 against Christian Academy of Indiana, a squad the Eagles defeated by a 68-56 margin on Jan. 22.

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