The main objective in a basketball game is to put the ball in the basket.
That is something Harrison Central didn't do down the stretch Tuesday night in dropping a 46-42 Buckeye 8 boys' basketball decision to visiting Indian Creek inside the John W. Stephenson Center in frigid Cadiz.
The home fans were on their feet after Nick Pelegreen drained a three-point goal to put the Huskies (11-4) ahead 30-29 with 2:49 remaining in the third quarter, but little did anyone wearing Black, Silver and Royal Blue know, that would be the last basket the hosts would make until 19.4 seconds were left.
HARRISON CENTRAL’S Justin Clifford instructs his team during a timeout Tuesday night.
In that span, which lasted a dreadful 10 minutes, 20 seconds, the Redskins (11-4) had taken a lead they would never relinquish. During that time, Harrison Central misfired on numerous 'good' looks at the basket. It also failed to capitalize on free throws when the clock was stopped.
"Not making a field goal for that long and then missing free throws isn't a good combination when you're trying to come back," a dejected Harrison Central head coach Justin Clifford said. "Defensively, we're playing our rear ends off and giving ourselves a chance to win, but, we just can't put the ball in the hole at the other end of the court.
"Give Indian Creek credit because they do that to a lot of teams, but they aren't the only team we haven't put the ball in the hole against," he added. "Sometimes you take a bad shot and it goes in, and sometimes you take a good shot and it doesn't. That's basketball."
Following Pelegreen's trey, Indian Creek went on a 6-0 run to end the third panel leading 35-30. The Redskins scored eight of the first 12 points in the final chapter to lead 43-37, but the Huskies wouldn't go away.
Senior guard Fletcher Watt drove to the basket and converted the layup - Harrison Central's first bucket since Pelegreen's bonus bomb - while being fouled to make it 43-39 with 19.4 seconds on the clock.
Watt's free throw bounced off the rim, but Pelegreen pulled it down and put it back up off the glass for a 43-41 reading as Clifford called timeout with 16.1 left.
Frankie Kamarec was quickly fouled and sank the first of a two-shot opportunity. His second chance was off the mark and Watt rebounded before time was called with 8.8 showing.
With the hosts setting up for a game-tying trey, veteran Indian Creek head coach Joe Dunlevy had his troops immediately foul, which they did, sending Austin Kowalski to the stripe.
Kowalski made the first to make it 44-42 with 5.6 left and Clifford called his final timeout.
When play resumed, Kowalski intentionally missed the shot, but in the process, failed to hit the rim, giving the Redskins the ball out of bounds. The ball was inbounded to Shane Winland who sealed the deal by knocking down both charity tosses.
"These games are always like this," Dunlevy said. "These kids have been playing against each other since junior high, so each team knows the other pretty good.
"I love the Buckeye 8. This league is tough," he continued. "There are five pretty good teams in there."
Dunlevy singled out the play of senior guard Blake Roar, who came up with a pair of big steals in the fourth quarter when Harrison Central was making a charge.
"He doesn't get much publicity because he doesn't score 20 points a night, but without his two huge steals, we don't win this game," Dunlevy stressed.
Alex Young led Indian Creek with a game-best 20 points. Kamarec added eight. Pelegreen paced Harrison Central with 15, two more than Watt. Rashaen Mitchell added eight.
Mitchell also pulled down a game-leading eight rebounds as the Huskies held a slim, 27-26, edge off the glass. Young grabbed seven.
Harrison Central won the JV game.
INDIAN CREEK (46) - Kamarec 1 6-10 8; Furda 2 0-1 4; Roar 2 1-2 5; Young 8 4-6 20; Winland 0 2-2 2; Sullivan 2 1-2 5; Haught 0 0-0 0; Durbin 0 0-0 0; Anderson 1 0-0 2; Totals: 16-33 14-23. HARRISON CENTRAL (42) - R. Mitchell 3 2-4 8; K. Mitchell 0 0-0 0; Watt 5 2-3 13; Kowalski 0 3-4 3; Pelegreen 4 6-9 15; Olmstead 1 0-0 2; Evans 0 0-0 0; Rutter 0 0-0 0; Miser 0 0-2 0; Totals: 13-41 13-20.
Three-Point Goals: Harrison Central 3 (Watt, Olmstead, Pelegreen)
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