Harper Creek coach Matt Bowling didn’t love how his team played, but he wasn’t going to argue with the results.
Harper Creek held off visiting Loy Norrix for a 57-48 victory in this Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference East Division boys’ basketball contest on Friday.
With the win, Harper Creek moves to 6-1 overall and 5-1 in the division, while Loy Norrix falls to 4-4 overall.
“As a collective group, we played pretty poorly,” said Bowling. “That being said – it’s always nice to play poorly and come out of it on top, and we can learn from it and get better.”
Harper Creek got off to a hot start, scoring the first eight points of the contest, and not allowing a field goal until there were just two and a half minutes remaining in the first quarter. The Beavers stretched their lead a bit further, and finished the quarter with a 16-6 advantage.
In the second, the Knights hit four 3-point baskets, and outscored the Beavers 20-13. After back-to-back treys by Loy Norrix’s Trevor Parlato, the score was knotted at 26-26, but a successful three-point-play by Harper Creek’s Jack Thompson with 3.9 seconds to go put the Beavers ahead 29-26 at the intermission.
The Knights quickly tied the game up at 29-29 after the break, but the Beavers responded with an 8-0 scoring run, giving them a 37-29 lead.
“We came out of the half and went on a little run because we controlled the boards and we transitioned,” said Bowling. “We were a little more patient through that stretch, and we were able to get easier shots closer to the rim.”
With the scoreboard reading 39-32, the teams headed into the fourth quarter. The final period was a back and forth battle for the most part. The Knights showed signs of a comeback on multiple occasions, but Harper Creek was able to respond each time. The Beavers’ Trevor Johnson scored six points down the stretch to seal the 57-48 victory.
Bowling was impressed with Johnson’s play: “I thought Trevor Johnson played outstanding for us tonight. He was solid all night long. There were a few more individuals in there, too, but Trevor stood out to me.”
Three Harper Creek players scored in double figures as Johnson led the team with 13 points, while Brandon Hutson and Mickey Barea each had 10. Johnson also led the team in rebounds with eight.
For Loy Norrix, Eddie Gillon led the way with 15 points and eight boards. Parlato added 11 points and six rebounds for the Knights.