The Harper Creek Beavers were short-handed, facing a Coldwater team looking for an upset against the wounded Beavers.
But at home in an Interstate 8 Conference matchup, it was the No. 10-ranked Beavers who would grab their seventh victory on the season as Harper Creek defeated Coldwater, 66-52, in this boys’ basketball win over the Cardinals.
“We just played as a team tonight,” said Beaver guard James Cadena. “We were missing two of our players tonight – (guard) TraVon Johnson and (forward) Brandon Hutson – which hurts a lot…. But we said, ‘hey, we have to come together and we are all going to have to step up.’ And that’s what we did tonight.”
Cadena led Harper Creek with 29 points.
With the win Harper Creek remains undefeated in conference (4-0) and in overall play (7-0), while Coldwater moves to 1-6 after the loss.
“I believe we have a bull’s-eye on our back,” said Harper Creek head basketball coach Matt Bowling. “In conference and overall we are going to get a teams’ best performance. And tonight Coldwater played really well. We were able to hang onto the win, though, despite our struggles early on.”
The Cardinals came hot of the gate in Friday night’s contest, which forced Harper Creek to play catch up early on. But, behind the guard play of Cadena’s 12 first-half points, the Beavers were to overtake the lead into half, 24-20.
In the second half the Bearcats displayed more of its up-tempo, gritty game by adding onto its lead by denying easy buckets for the Cardinals. The Beavers shot 60 percent from the floor, as compared to the Cardinals’ 38 percent from the field in the second half.
“Yeah, we started off slow tonight,” said Bowling. “But came out after the second half and played like we had to. But, again, credit to Coldwater tonight – they played tough.”
The Beavers’ Khylen Watkins contributed 19 points.
For Coldwater, guard Colin Warner had 19 points, seven rebounds and four assists.