Twin Lakes continued its sprint into sectional play, rallying from a 13-point first-half deficit to beat Harrison 63-61 Tuesday night.
The Indians (13-8) finished the regular season winning six of seven and will host a Class 3A sectional next week. Harrison (10-10) was coming off a Friday victory over the Twin Lakes Sectional favorite, West Lafayette.
“We really want to look ahead,” Twin Lakes coach Kent Adams said. “We had some big wins against some sectional opponents, but that doesn’t mean much, except it tells our kids if they do what they can and work together, they can be successful.”
Harrison dominated the first two quarters behind a big rebounding margin and the hot shooting of guard Cade Renicker. Renicker, who finished the game with 18 points, connected on four of his five 3-pointers in the first half. Cole Smith led all Raider scorers with 21 points.
A Renicker 3-pointer, followed by Noah Thomas’ layup with 3:21 left in the second quarter, gave the Raiders their biggest lead, 30-17. But Harrison could not hold the double-digit edge, as Tyler Reddington knocked down two free throws with 15.1 seconds left to trim the Raiders’ advantage to 32-23 by halftime.
“We couldn’t have beaten them at the beginning of the season,” Adams said. “I wasn’t sure at halftime we could beat them. I told our team at halftime that Harrison was just at a different level of intensity of play that we weren’t competing with, and we had to get tougher. We started working together better and finding open people and got to the free throw line.”
Twin Lakes opened the third quarter with a 9-2 run that got it within 34-32 on a Tanner Pritts 3-pointer. The Indians took the lead for good on a Zach Diener layup with 3:08 left in the period.
“We made some shots early, and then we completely lost our desire and willingness to guard,” Harrison coach Mark Rinehart said. “They completely took us out of executing in the second half. We turned the ball over 19 times to their eight. Our kids are going to scratch and claw to find a way to win, but our execution tonight was inexcusable.”
The Indians continued to build their lead behind Reddington, who topped Twin Lakes scorers with 15, Cameron Bennington (13 points) and Pritts, who added 12.
Bennington’s driving layup with 2:32 left gave the Indians their biggest lead, 55-46. But Twin Lakes left the door open with its inability to make free throws. The Indians went 4 for 10 from the line in a 90-second stretch, which allowed the Raiders to cut into the deficit.
Renicker made his fifth 3-point shot with 12.3 seconds left in the game to cut Twin Lakes’ lead to 61-59. Bennington was fouled with 6.4 seconds remaining and made the first free throw but missed the second.
Pritts, at 5-foot-9, slipped into the paint to grab the rebound, forcing Harrison forward Taylor Sondgerath to foul him with six seconds remaining. Pritts made one free throw to give Twin Lakes a two-possession margin.
“It would have been nice to have a little bit of a cushion so I could relax, but I guess they wanted to make me nervous,” Adams said. “Pritts’ rebound is an example of the kind of hustle plays he and other kids have been making for us throughout the season. That was a great play by a smart young man.”
Rinehart said for Harrison, though, it was another example of how the Raiders lost their mental edge after the first half.
“We didn’t do our job on that play,” Rinehart said. “That one play was emblematic of our lack of execution and focus. We wanted to build on our momentum off the West Side game, and we didn’t do it. We have to go back and get ready for our senior night on Friday night.”