By Beau Wicker Pharos-Tribune
---- — Pat Skaggs had his Logansport squad prepared for a 32-minute battle against Harrison Tuesday night in the Berry Bowl.
The Berries grinded out a 74-63 win over the Raiders, a possible sectional opponent and future North Central Conference opponent.
“It was an ugly win, but really if we play them four or five times it’s going to be the same type of game every time,” Skaggs said. “They’re a very physical, aggressive team and we knew it was going to be a knock-down, drag-out ahead of time and that’s what it turned out to be.”
The Berries (10-5) entered as the fourth highest scoring team in Class 4A and went two points over their season average in the win. They had four players in double figures, led by freshman Matt Jennings’ 22 points. Carter Skaggs had 16, Travis Palmer scored 13 and Alex Brink added 10. Andrew Wamsley chipped in six and A.J. Smith added five.
“I thought that was huge for Palmer and Brink to combine for 23 points,” Pat Skaggs said. “You know what, Matt, A.J., Carter and Wamsley sometimes attract a lot of attention, and I thought Brink and Palmer recognized what was there and did a good job of taking the ball to the basket and shooting a high-percentage shot.”
The Berries started strong, jumping out to a 13-2 start in the first six minutes of the game. They led 20-11 after one quarter, 36-23 at halftime and 48-34 after three.
Harrison coach Mark Rinehart looked to his squad’s poor start to the game as a reason for the loss. The Raiders made just 1 of 6 shots and had two turnovers in the first six minutes in falling in the quick 13-2 hole.
“The game’s pretty simple. They’re very good offensively and we put ourselves in a 13-2 hole and that’s the difference in the game,” Rinehart said. “Basketball is a game of runs and we could have come back, but you put a good offensive team on a 10-point cushion and all their shots get a little bit easier and their confidence gets better and we flat out didn’t do a good enough job of guarding the ball. And you can’t turn it over 21 times.”
Logansport led 52-34 after a Brink score in transition with 6:10 remaining. Palmer hit two free throws to make it 56-40 with 3:34 left, but he was called for a technical foul after he was fouled on the play. Harrison scored a five-point possession to cut the lead to 11.
The Raiders hit a total of four 3-pointers and scored 23 points in the final 3:34 but would get no closer than nine the rest of the way. Jennings scored on a long pass from Skaggs and Skaggs later added a basket, and Logan hit 16 of 17 free throws in the last 3:34.
Pat Skaggs was not happy his squad allowed so many points over the final stretch of the game.
“I’m a little disappointed in our defense in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter,” he said. “I thought we were a little too relaxed and just weren’t very sharp on defense. I’ll give credit to Harrison, they definitely knocked down some shots and kept battling. But we’ve got to be a little mentally tougher than that and take a little more pride on that end of the floor.”
Taylon Sondergrath led the Raiders (4-13) with 16 points. Cade Renicker scored 14, Dominic Trapp had nine, Matthew Roop had seven and Josian Heath added six.
“We did some good things,” said Rinehart, whose squad recently lost a close one in overtime to Lafayette Central Catholic. “I thought we battled a lot harder in the second half. We had 17 assists. We’ve got four games left in the regular season and we’ve got to find ways to get more consistent at playing 32 minutes.”
The Berries made 18 of 24 free throws in the fourth quarter and 28 of 41 for the game to the Raiders’ 11 of 11.
“They did a good job,” Rinehart said. “That’s one thing we’ve talked about all year is you’ve got to be perfect and you’ve got to get some help when you put yourself in that situation. A good team like Logansport with good guards, not very often are you going to make them make enough mistakes to get all the way back.”
Logan hosts Huntington North Friday for senior night. Due to the success of the girls basketball team, the Winamac game Saturday night has been rescheduled for Feb. 27.