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Harrison eliminates Lafayette Jeff at Kokomo Sectional, 60-44
March 14, 2014Lafayette Jefferson High School
Taylon Sondgerath and Josiah Heath took to heart their coach’s message about treating Tuesday’s Class 4A Kokomo Sectional opener against Lafayette Jeff as a second senior night.
Sondgerath took full advantage of his 6-foot-4 height, putting up game highs of 22 points and 10 rebounds. Heath was 5 of 7 from 3-point range, helping Harrison shoot 62 percent from the field in its 60-44 victory.
“We challenged them on Saturday morning that the real senior night was tonight,” Harrison coach Mark Rinehart said. “If they wanted our program to take the next step, we had to get a tournament win so we can experience that.
“Joe was huge from the arc. I’m so proud of those two guys. Tonight proved you don’t have to have a lot of success the whole year, if you keep working and keep believing.”
Cade Renicker matched Heath with 15 points for Harrison (7-15), which earned a Friday night semifinal matchup against Tippecanoe School Corp. rival McCutcheon.
“Our mentality was just to go out and play hard and have some fun tonight,” Sondgerath said. “Our game plan was just to cut hard in our offense and get some quick shots up in the post. I think we did that off penetration.”
While the Raiders were hitting everything from 3-pointers to spectacular reverse layups, Lafayette Jeff couldn’t buy a basket. The Bronchos took 20 more shots than the Raiders but only made five more field goals as they finished under 30 percent.
“We wanted to make them score from outside the paint,” Rinehart said. “If we could make them stay away from the rim … they’re really dangerous when they hit shots.”
Lafayette Jeff, which finishes 5-17, only led 2-0 on a basket by freshman David Hanyard. Trailing 30-18 at halftime, the Bronchos made one final push to get back in the game. Two free throws by Quarin Hood, a Darian Collins steal and layup and another Collins basket cut the deficit to 30-24.
Following a Harrison timeout, Heath hit a 3-pointer and baskets from Jake Fernung and Renicker restored the double-digit lead.
“We knew it was going to be hard to win if we didn’t hit shots, and tonight we didn’t hit shots,” Lafayette Jeff coach Scott Radeker said. “They outplayed us tonight. They stepped up and hit big shots.
“We made that little run in the third and thought we might have some energy there, a little life. A couple of things don’t bounce our way and it’s back to 11 again.”
In his final game in a Jeff uniform, Hood led the Bronchos with 14 points. Hanyard added 12 and Collins scored 11.
“We’ve got a lot of young kids,” Radeker said. “They need to learn from it and remember the feeling. Hopefully, it spurs them on in the offseason and we get going again.”