Nai Carlisle capped his big fourth quarter with a nothing but net jumper with 1.1 seconds remaining to give West Lafayette a 46-44 victory over Harrison in the J&C Hoops Classic opener Monday night at the Crawley Center.
Carlisle scored 13 of his game-high 18 points in the fourth quarter. At one point, the sophomore scored nine points in a row after Harrison led 36-30 with the ball with less than five minutes left in the game.
“I was just trying to will my team to win,” Carlisle said about shaking off an aggressive Harrison defense against him to explode in the fourth quarter. “My guys just played great tonight. We got the rebounds and the loose balls, and we were just playing really hard.”
The score was tied at 44 after Harrison’s Taylon Sondgerath hit a turnaround jumper with about a minute to go. After both teams exchanged turnovers, West Lafayette coach Dave Wood called a timeout, giving Carlisle a chance to make a play.
“Nai created a shot for Jared (Snoble) earlier in the quarter,” Wood said. “He stuck the 3-pointer that gave us a brief lead. Shooting comes and goes. Thing he’s got to do is just play the game. At times it seemed he couldn’t move from the fact that he missed the shot.
“He was able to do that in the fourth quarter even after a big turnover. We wanted the ball in his hands at the end and he made a play.”
The game overshadowed another solid performance by Harrison’s Cade Renicker, who finished the game with 16 points. Renicker rung up 26 points against North Montgomery in the Raiders opener on Saturday, but the guard could only get off one 3-point attempt against the Red Devils.
“He shot it well from the perimeter on Saturday, and he knows people are going to focus on him,” Harrison coach Mark Rinehart said of his leading scorer. “He rose to the challenge at times but we were all shell-shocked in the first quarter as a whole group.”
The Raiders missed all nine of their shots in the first quarter but managed to play good enough defense to only trail 8-3 after the first eight minutes of play. Sondgerath, who finished with 11 points, made a short turnaround jumper at the 7:12 mark of the second quarter for the Raiders’ first field goal.
West Lafayette, though, missed a chance to open up a lead, and Harrison started to chip away at the Red Devils’ 13-6 second-quarter lead. Matt Vawter’s 3-point shot with 1:39 left finished an 11-4 Raider run to tie the game 17-17 at halftime.
After two ties and two lead changes, Harrison took a 26-24 lead on a Vawter layup with 3:16 left in the third quarter.
“There were four or five times down the stretch where we just didn’t get quality looks,” Rinehart said. “That’s what we talked about. If we don’t play 32 quality minutes, things are going to have to our way and they went West Side’s way tonight.
“You have to give West Lafayette credit. They played a great fourth quarter and we didn’t.”