Harrisburg boys down St. Elizabeth

It doesn’t take a basketball genius to figure out if your opponent gets 20 more possessions than you do, they’re probably going to win.

That was the situation for the St. Elizabeth boys Saturday, and the game played out as you might expect.

The Harrisburg Bulldogs forced the Hornets into 29 turnovers while committing just nine of their own, and they used it to spark a 65-47 win in the Missouri National Guard Shootout at Fleming Fieldhouse.

With the turnover disparity, the Bulldogs were able to squeeze off 68 shots, compared to just 41 for the Hornets.

“We build on program on telling the kids, ‘Offense comes and goes, but defense has to be there every night,’” Harrisburg coach Steve Combs said.

The defense was key to a great start to the game that effectively decided the result. While the Hornets shot better than 50 percent in the first quarter, they still trailed 25-14 because they were just 5-of-9 from the floor because of eight turnovers.

“I expected it to be worse,” St. Elizabeth coach Nick Voss said. “We played Eugene (Friday) night and got throttled by 55, so I was anxious to see how we would react. We were very positive and played hard and had a lot of energy, so I was very pleased.”

The biggest contributor for Harrisburg in that quarter was Kale Spry, who drilled all three of his shot attempts, and all of them were from 3-point range. Also perfect was Drew Ewens, who was 3-of-3 for six points.

“Two seniors stepped up,” Combs said. “(The Hornets) were playing a triangle-and-two on our two leading scorers and I told the other guys, ‘You can all shoot the basketball, get out there and shoot it.’ They came down and played with a lot of confidence and that’s what you expect out of your seniors.”

Voss said it was just a case of picking your poison, because while the Hornets limited Jacob Rudkin to 11 points and Blake Berry to six, other Bulldogs hurt them.

“Watching them play the other night, (Rudkin and Berry) combined for 50-something points,” Voss said. “Our goal was to keep them under 15 each and they had 11 and six. We made their role players score more, and they did. So you’ve just got to give them credit.”

St. Elizabeth outscored Harrisburg 13-12 in the second quarter to pull to within 37-27 at halftime. Coby Glore did most of the damage in the period with seven points, as he was perfect — he made his one 3-point attempt, his lone 2-point shot and both free throws he took.

The Bulldogs went back on the attack in the third quarter, forcing nine St. Elizabeth turnovers while outscoring the Hornets 13-8. Their lead was 50-35 after three periods.

The Bulldogs led by 18 points three times in the final period, including the final score.

Cochran, Spry and Charles Roller ended up tying for the lead for Harrisburg (6-2) with 12 points apiece.

Travis Miner had a big night for St. Elizabeth (1-7), racking up 14 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Teammate Brian Wilde led with 15 points.

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