Before the year ever began, the players on the boys’ team at Harrison High School knew each other well.
This year the Warriors have proved they know something else as evidenced by Friday’s 65-62 win at North.
They know how to win close games.
After North (6-3, 2-2 Southern Indiana Athletic Conference) played with the lead for the entire first half and much of the second, Harrison (9-0, 3-0) used an 11-1 fourth quarter run to take a 62-58 lead with 2:42 to play. It wouldn’t last, though.
Senior center Brock Underwood scored four straight points to forge a 62-62 tie with 1:38 to play, and then North elected to play chicken and let Harrison play hold ’em at the end.
Enter the Duncan brothers, junior Ernie and sophomore twins Everett and Stanley, who had 45 points among them for the Warriors.
But the Huskies were well aware that Ernie already had 28 of those points and had made eight of his last 10 3-point attempts. Everett had 15 points that included three of six 3-point shooting. That left Stanley two points on a pair of free throws.
“Stanley told me he hadn’t made a shot coming out of the timeout,” said Ernie, who would key the offense from the top of the key in the final seconds. “Then I came off a couple high pick-and-rolls with De’Niko (Scott) and Brandon (Stewart) and found Stanley wide open in the corner. I knew he’d make it.”
Stanley Duncan did exactly that with five seconds to play. North called time and managed to set up a desperation 3-pointer that fell short.
“The kids showed resilience and toughness tonight, but Harrison hit too many threes,” said North coach Scot Bunnell. “That’s the only way you can
lose when you shoot 55 percent from the floor and they shoot 40.”
Ernie Duncan thought he could explain why the Warriors earned another close win.
“We have great chemistry, which certainly has something to do with it,” he said. “But I also think we have a knack for winning the close ones.”
Harrison coach Bryan Speer couldn’t argue.
“There is a really good chemistry with this group,” he said. “But it’s more than that. We played 10 guys tonight and got lifts from lots of them at different times.
“These guys all stay in the game mentally even when they’re not on the floor.
“Then they just stay the course on the floor and play until the end.”
North was balanced offensively as Jaylen Chambers totaled 15 points, Underwood 12 and Drew Watters 11 off the bench, but it didn’t help in the end.
“Jaylen Chambers kept us in the game,” said Bunnell.
“Then when they pressured the outside we got it to our big guys and drove it. Now we get to see them again on Tuesday.”.