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Harrison rolls past Twin Lakes into J&C Hoops Classic title game

November 18, 2012
Harrison ( West Lafayette ) High School

The screams coming from the Harrison girls basketball locker room Friday night could be heard halfway down one of the hallways outside McCutcheon’s Resler Gymnasium.

The Raiders had plenty to shout about after reaching the J&C Hoops Classic championship game for the first time with a 62-44 victory over Twin Lakes.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” said sophomore guard Courtney Jacobson, who scored a game-high 24 points. “We needed this confidence, and I’m hoping for the best the next game. We’re ready.”

It will take Harrison’s best in tonight’s final to defeat heavily favored and Class 3A No. 4 Benton Central, a 68-64 overtime winner against West Lafayette in the other Hoops Classic semifinal.

Jacobson’s 7 of 12 shooting from the field — 4 of 5 from 3-point range — reflected an amazing turnaround for the Harrison offense from its first-round victory over Lafayette Jeff on Tuesday night. In that game, the Raiders shot 21 percent from the field and were 2 of 13 from 3-point range.

Friday night, Harrison did not have a single quarter where it shot lower than 50 percent, finishing 21 of 40 from the field (52.5 percent). The Raiders were also hot at the free throw line, making 14 of 19.

What’s the secret of improving his team’s shooting by 30 percent in three days? Simple, really, said Harrison coach Jake Rettig.

“They were just so nervous and needed some confidence,” Rettig said of the Raiders’ 38-28 win over Lafayette Jeff. “We came out with confidence tonight, and when you hit your first couple, then it multiplies on top of that.”

The other secret of Harrison’s success was a 2-3 zone defense that flustered a Twin Lakes lineup missing senior guard Chloe McAchren. McAchren, who had 19 points and 11 rebounds in the Indians’ first-round victory over Frankfort, was absent due to the death of her grandfather.

“We just wanted to keep them in front of us and play hard,” Jacobson said. “We wanted our defense to fuel our offense.”

It did in the first quarter, as the Raiders scored eight points off Twin Lakes turnovers and Jacobson had eight points to help build a 19-8 advantage that never dipped below double figures afterward.

“We weren’t confident with the basketball,” Twin Lakes coach Brad Bowsman said. “I felt like when we caught the ball we didn’t take advantage of the opportunities that were presented to us. Toward the second half we did a better job of attacking, getting to the line and getting some nice shots.

“We had some girls that needed to step up, and it took them some time to figure out what they needed to do. It was a tough night for us.”

Bowsman did single out Gabrielle Kendall, who came off the bench to lead Twin Lakes (2-1) with eight points.

“I felt like Kendall off the bench gave us a spark,” Bowsman said. “We had different people step up. Shelby Sturgeon hit a 3, Morgan Michalski stepped up with a 3. I feel like we didn’t sustain the intensity the whole time. We had some letdowns, gave them the opportunity to push their lead a little farther.”

Twin Lakes will have a chance to regroup immediately when it takes on Hoosier Conference rival West Lafayette in the third-place game today at 6 p.m.

Claire Muller also was in double figures for Harrison (2-1), scoring 14 points before fouling out with 3:30 remaining.

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