HARRISBURG — Harrisburg’s Nick Hoyt hit a big three-point field goal with 50 seconds remaining to help the host Tigers to a 57-54 win over the Huron Tigers Saturday night in ESD boys’ basketball action.
The game was a classic ESD tussle, with both teams hitting huge shots, and in which neither team could impose its will upon the other. Harrisburg moves to 15-2 with the win while Huron falls to 7-10 with the defeat.
“I’m proud of our guys tonight,” said Huron coach Tim Buddenhagen after the near miss. “It was encouraging as we did a lot of things right tonight - we were just one shot short.”
The blueprint for the bulk of the game was filed in the first half, as both teams had offensive runs, but as the script played out over the game, neither team was able to open up a lead of greater than five points.
The teams traded baskets early, and after a Jett McGirr layup knotted the score at 4-all, Huron continued on a 7-0 tear, only to see Harrisburg come back with a 6-0 run to take a 10-9 lead.
Huron scored the last four points of the quarter on a Nolan Wiegel layup and a pair of free throws from Teegan Evers to hold a 13-10 lead after one.
A quick basket from Tanner Evers gave Huron its largest lead of the half - five points - but for the rest of the quarter the teams traded points and the lead. A total of seven lead changes occurred over the remainder of the second quarter and a pair of late free throws from Nick Hoyt gave Harrisburg a 23-22 lead at the break.
Hoyt put Harrisburg up by four points - their largest lead of the game to that point - with a quick three-pointer. Huron tied the score as a basket from Teegan Evers and a three-pointer by Kobe Busch knotted the score at 27-27 after a free throw from Harrisburg‘s Brady VanHolland.
Then Busch caught fire, hitting two more threes, getting a putback field goal off his own miss and threw down a dunk to keep pace with Harrisburg. A McGirr field goal put Huron up 39-37, but threes from Hoyt and Brooks Fuller and a short jumper from Fuller put Harrisburg on top 45-41 after three quarters.
“Turnovers really hurt us at certain times tonight,” Buddenhagen noted. “When we turn the ball over, it puts Harrisburg in their transition game and they are really good in transition. They spread the court and spot up shooters.”
Busch dialed long distance to open the fourth quarter, cutting the lead to a single point and converting a short bank shot on the next possession to give Huron a lead. A McGirr putback extended the lead to three.
Over the first five-and-a-half minutes of the quarter, Huron held Harrisburg scoreless to establish the lead. Hoyt hit one of two free throws to break the string and cut the lead to two and Blair Slaughter put Harrisburg back on top 49-48 on the next possession with an old-fashioned three-point play, which cost Teegan Evers his fifth foul.
Cooper Fryberger replaced Evers and promptly got fouled, draining both charity tosses to put Huron up 50-49.
Chase Altenburg hit a short jumper and Busch went two-for-two from the line to move the score to 52-51, Huron and Buddenhagen called timeout.
Hoyt hit his three out of the break and added three of four from the line, while Huron only managed two of four from the line in the last minute of the game.
“That was my fault,” Buddenhagen said after the game. “We went to a zone defense, spotted up on their shooters and Hoyt got loose. We should have just stayed with a our man defense.”
Busch led all scorers with 27 points in the game, out-dueling Hoyt, who ended with 22. Both were the only double-figure scorers for their teams on the night. Tanner Evers scored nine points for Huron and McGirr added eight.
“Kobe had a great game,” Buddenhagen said. “He’s good with the ball, he found a couple of cutters with nice passes tonight and he makes plays. Tonight, he was feeling his shot and he helped us keep it close in the third quarter.”
Huron will close its home season on Friday night, when it hosts the Watertown Arrows. With only one game after that - a trip to Brandon Valley the following week - Huron will not be in the running to host a “Sweet 16” game on March 3.
“We’ll get back to work and prepare for Watertown on Friday, which is also Senior Night,“ Buddenhagen said. “It’s the last home game, so hopefully, we get a good turnout.”
Huron 13 22 41 54
Harrisburg 10 23 45 57