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Center plays big role in Harrison victory
February 22, 2012Twin Lakes High School
Harrison coach Mark Rinehart said sophomore center Taylon Sondgerath played one of his worst first halves of the season against Twin Lakes on Tuesday night.
Sondgerath agreed. Fortunately for the Raiders, his second half may have been his best.
The sophomore center scored 15 of his 19 points after halftime, helping Harrison surge past Twin Lakes 66-59 at May Gymnasium.
"I don't think I was there mentally," said Sondgerath, whose only second-half regret was that he converted just two of his five and-one chances. "I needed to be more aggressive and play harder."
Nathan Wissman scored a game-high 23 points for the Raiders (5-15) and recorded assists on three straight possessions in a crucial stretch late in the fourth quarter. Cole Smith scored 13 and hit 7 of 8 free throws in the final 66 seconds to seal the Raiders' third win in four games.
Yet it was Sondgerath's presence inside that provided a crucial spark.
"We absolutely had to have that presence, and that's what he can provide," said Rinehart, whose team opened the season 2-14. "... Even though he's not the biggest kid in the world, when he presents himself on the block, he gives us a great target for throwing the ball to."
Cameron Bennington (15 points, eight rebounds) and Jordan Crabb (14 points, nine rebounds) approached double-doubles for Twin Lakes (13-8), which saw its three-game winning streak end.
Brian Moore added 12 points and four assists before fouling out with 3:10 left. Soon after, the Raiders scored on three straight possessions, with Wissman assisting Jacob Payne for two layups and Mark Huston for a third.
Harrison took a 57-49 lead and led by at least five the rest of the way.
"We had the game in control, (then) we missed free throws, turned the ball over which led to layups and dunks, and we just can't stop them," Twin Lakes coach Kent Adams said. "It's disappointing."
Sondgerath's 19 points were a season high and marked the fourth time in five games he's reached double figures. (He scored nine in the other.) His ability to draw contact in the post contributed to foul trouble for Indians starters like Crabb and Ryan Connell.
At 6-foot-4 and solidly built, Sondgerath saw an opportunity to step up against Twin Lakes' smaller lineup. He scored on the opening possession of the second half and later scored eight points in a 51-second span of the third quarter.
"They didn't have a bunch of bodies, big men," Sondgerath said. "I started off the second half, got that and-one, and just kept going. Coach told me to just keep being aggressive, and I just did."