This season, Harper Creek wants to play good defense and get out and run.
On Friday, Marshall couldn’t do anything to stop Harper Creek from doing exactly what it wanted to do.
Harper Creek ran over Marshall for a 73-44 win in this Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference East Division boys’ basketball game at Harper Creek.
With the win, the Beavers have run out to a 2-0 record to start the year as their new philosophy of pressure defense and uptempo basketball has been an early success.
“We definitely want to get out and run as much as we can,” Harper Creek coach Matt Bowling said. “But it all starts on the defensive end.”
Marshall didn’t seem to be ready for Harper Creek’s intensity early as the Beavers ran out to a 15-2 lead to start the game, forcing seven Redhawk turnovers in the first six minutes of the game.
By halftime, Harper Creek led 29-17 and Marshall had 15 turnovers before intermission. Facing the Beaver defense, the Redhawks were also 5-of-19 shooting in the first half.
“We went out to try and hold them to as many one-and-outs as we could. We held them to 17 first-half points and we only gave up 10 from the field, so I was pretty pleased with our defensive effort,” Bowling said.
If Marshall had any ideas of making a comeback after intermission, Harper Creek put a damper on that early in the second half as the Beavers’ Jack Thompson hit back-to-back 3-pointers to start the third quarter and make it 35-17.
“The nice things about our kids is that we rotate bodies and keep coming at people and we don’t let up,” Bowling said. “We hit those couple threes to start that third quarter and really got us going again in the second half.”
Harper Creek featured balanced scoring with Coleton Swims leading the way with 20 points as James Cadena added 18 points and six rebounds with Thompson getting 10 points and seven rebounds.
Cadena, showcasing Harper Creek’s uptempo offense and ball movement, added 10 assists.
“It’s fun, the kids have bought into the system so far, they are enjoying it… I’m having a great time with it,” Bowling said. “I feel really good tonight versus how we played on Tuesday. We were pretty sloppy on Tuesday, but tonight we took a big jump and that was good. Now, we can’t be satisfied, we just have to keep it going.”
Marshall, which lost several starters to graduation, also has several new faces on the roster from Albion – as that school closed and many of its students came to Marshall.
The Redhawks (0-2) were led by Jacob Brubaker with 11 points with Landry Reynolds adding 10 points and Angus Bennett chipping in eight points and seven rebounds with Drew Devine getting nine points and five rebounds.
“We got it handed to us by a team that is much better than us. I’m not going to blame it on our new faces, or chemistry, we just got an old-fashioned whooping,” Marshall coach Nick Dent said. “We played really poorly on defense. We let guys go around us and then when they weren’t going around, they were knocking down shots and we didn’t.”