HARRISBURG - While the lead rarely changed after the very beginning of the second quarter, the Harrisburg Tigers, ranked No. 1 in Class AA in the final poll before the holidays, had to fight to hold on for a 58-51 victory Saturday over the Huron Tigers in Harrisburg.
The win moves Harrisburg to 6-1 while Huron falls to 4-3.
Cold shooting would plague Huron throughout the first half, falling behind early as Braeden VanBockern streaked down the court for a layup for Harrisburg after the first Huron miss. The next trip down, Harrisburg big man Camden Phipps was fouled in transition and sank both free throws, giving the home team a quick 4-0 lead.
Anderson Porisch got the Tigers on the board with a quick drive down the middle of the lane. Braeden Feeldy scored on a backdoor pass from Phipps the next trip for Harrisburg, but Blake Ellwein answered with a three.
Another Ellwein three the next trip down the court gave Huron its first lead at 8-6. Jacoby Mehrman got a layup after VanBockern came up with a steal for Harrisburg. Maddox Plack on the next trip down the court for Harrisburg hit a falling runner to put the home squad up 10-8.
Huron got an offensive rebound and worked the shot clock down before Porisch nailed a corner three as the shot clock ran out. Carsen Evans hit a runner as time ran out to give Huron a 13-10 lead at the end of the first quarter, despite shooting 5-for-15 in the quarter.
As Huron missed shots early in the second quarter, Harrisburg went on a 10-0 run, keyed by a pair of Mehrman threes to take a 20-13 lead.
Gavin Moeding worked a give-and-go with Ellwein for a wide open layup and CJ Gainey made a steal after a time out and made the layup to bring Huron within 20-17.
Mehrman continued his hot quarter, hitting his third and his fourth long balls of the quarter on consecutive trips down the court.
Ellwein stopped and popped for a pair, but Phipps responded for Harrisburg with a strong post move that he converted into points to give Harrisburg a 28-19 lead.
Moeding handed off to Porisch, and the freshman nailed a three for Huron to make the score 28-22, the tally at the half.
Plack opened the third quarter by hitting one of two free throws after he was fouled attempting to put up an offensive rebound.
Huron’s shooting woes continued in the third quarter, but from a shorter distance. When Porisch made the first bucket of the second half, it was after three layup attempts by Huron had fallen off the rim.
Plack then got a pair of buckets sandwiched around a reverse layup by Evans. Feeldy got to the hoop for a bucket, but Porisch answered with a runner for Huron, making the score 35-28 in favor of Harrisburg.
Phipps then muscled his way up for a bucket and was fouled, converting the three-point play. Ellwein immediately answered with a three and then drove into the lane and was fouled, hitting one of two free throws - the first free tosses of the game for Huron, with 1:19 left in the third quarter.
VanBockern was able to pick off a Huron pass and slash to the hoop for a bucket just ahead of the quarter break, sending the home team to the fourth with a 40-32 lead.
After a quiet third quarter, Harrisburg’s Mehrman opened the fourth with a drive to the hoop for a bucket.
Porisch and Moeding were fouled on drives on consecutive series, with each hitting both free throws.
Gainey then began what would be a near-dominant quarter of defense, getting the steal and streaking down for a layup to bring the visitors within four at 42-38.
Phipps was fouled on a move down low and hit both free throws, but Ellwein immediately answered with a drive down the lane for a bucket to make it 44-40.
VanBockern had two quick drives down the lane for buckets sandwiching a nice give-and-go play with Gainey and Ellwein to get a bucket for Gainey, ending the run at 49-42 after VanBockern hit a free throw on the second drive.
Evans got a bucket on an offensive rebound, but Feeldy answered with a corner three to give the home Tigers a 52-44 lead.
Ellwein hit a pair of free throws after a drive, and Gainey nabbed two steals in a row, finishing both with layups to pull within 52-50.
Phipps was able to post up for a turn around bucket with a minute left in the game, and Ellwein was fouled on a drive, hitting one of two.
A Huron turnover with 30 seconds left led to the need to foul, and Harrisburg nailed four free throws to close out a 58-51 victory.
Harrisburg was led by Mehrman with 18 points. Phipps chipped in 13 points and VanBockern had nine.
Huron was led by Ellwein with 17 points. Porisch finished with 16 and Gainey put in 10 points.
While still seeing plenty to work on, Huron coach Tim Buddenhagen said his team should be able to take away plenty from this game.
“We’ve got a lot of things to work on, but it was encouraging today,” Buddenhagen said. “We feel we should have won the game, but we did it to ourselves.”
He continued, “We know that we can stand toe-to-toe with a good team.”
Harrisburg won the JV game 74-56.
The Tigers travel to Mitchell on Tuesday.
Huron 13 22 32 51
Harrisburg 10 28 40 58
Huron (4-3): Gavin Moeding 1 2-2 4, CJ Gainey 5 0-0 10, Blake Ellwein 5 4-6 17, Anderson Porisch 5 2-2 14, Carsen Evans 3 0-0 6. Totals: 19 8-10 51.
Harrisburg (6-1): Braeden Feeldy 3 0-0 7, Alex Smith 0 2-2 2, Braeden VanBockern 4 1-1 9, Maddox Plack 3 1-2 7, Nolan Krull 1 0-0 2, Jacoby Mehrman 6 2-2 18, Camden Phipps 3 7-7 13. Totals: 20 13-14 58.