The Harrison County Thorobreds have seen their once sparkling 14-5 record crumble to a 16-11 mark losing five of their last seven games, which caused Coach Larry Kendall to change the starting line up Saturday when the Breds traveled to Martha Layne Collins High School.
The Thorobreds started the past week with a loss at Estill County (12-14) in a performance that was less than desired to say the least.
They then hosted Nicholas County on Wednesday and defeated the district rival Bluejackets (9-18) by only nine points while being out hustled all over the floor.
The following Friday and Saturday brought two more losses, to Mason County and to Collins, which propelled the Harrison County squad the wrong direction as the district nears on Monday.
The Nicholas County win saw the Thorobreds jump out to a 25-18 lead at the end of the first quarter, but Harrison County was never able to stretch the lead over the Bluejackets, who they defeated in early December by a 71-48 score.
The Nicholas County boys played their usual physical style that sent Harrison County to the foul line 40 times in the game.
The Breds were caught up in the physical style and committed several fouls that allowed 28 trips to the charity stripe for the visiting Jackets.
Harrison County made 10 more free tosses than did Nicholas County, which led to the final nine-point margin 71-62.
Junior Dillon Pulliam scored the most points in the game as he scored 27.
Senior Tyler Wagner was the only other Thorobred in double figures with 14.
Sophomore Landon Sexton led the way for Nicholas County as he was red hot from the three-point arc scoring 25 points.
He had eight of the nine three successful three-point attempts for the Nicholas County squad.
Fellow sophomore Ben Duncan added 11 points and junior Scott Keaton scored 10, both coming off the bench for Coach Kevin Reinhardt.
After the game, Coach Kendall voiced his displeasure with the Breds’ effort.
“We didn’t play smart and made some poor decisions,” noted the first-year coach.
Part of the poor decisions was multiple three-point attempts where the Thorobreds were a poor four of 26 for the night.
The three-point story continued at Mason County on Friday as the Breds continued the less-than-torrid shooting from behind the arc.
Inaccuracy again was not a deterrent from shooting the bombs as Harrison County was again four of 26 from the three-point area.
The five starters were a paltry two of 17 for the game.
Senior Jordan Stubbs started the Thorobreds’ scoring as he hit a trey to give the visiting Harrison County team the lead at 3-2.
This was the only lead of the night, however, as the Royals (16-8) roared out to a 22-12 first quarter advantage.
Things were worse in the second quarter as poor shot selection by Harrison County led to a four for 17 performance and a 42-20 halftime deficit.
While the Harrison County field goal shooting was seven of 31 in the first half, the Mason County quintet was making more than half of their shots hitting 18 of 35.
The third quarter began as the first half had gone so Coach Kendall began to substitute to try a five that could successfully press the Royals to get back into the game.
The five juniors, Grant Carr and Mason Ritchie with sophomore D.J. Hicks and seniors Scott Kendall and Eli Gross, put forth a fine defensive effort and in the last quarter and one half were able to cut into the Mason County lead.
At one point in the fourth quarter the Breds made a 14-to-2 run and cut the lead to nine before running out of gas and time falling 70-61.
The usually sure-handed Royals made 14 of their 16 turnovers against the Harrison County pressure defense.
Senior Steven Chambers led the Royals with 21 points in the game followed by junior Shawn Johnson with 20.
Pulliam with 13 and Hicks with 10 led Harrison County’s scoring.
Coach Kendall began the Collins game with the line up that finished the Friday game at Mason County.
The 17-6 Titans, who are thought to be among the three best teams in the 8th Region, were, by most accounts, the best team that the Breds have faced this season.
The new line up battled the home-standing Collins’ five to a 19-13 first quarter with a balanced attack led by five points from Mason Ritchie.
Harrison County was able to keep it close in the second period again with more balance as Carr joined Ritchie with five points each at the half with the Breds trailing by 10 at 31-21.
The talented Titans went on an eight-to-nothing run to start the second half and though Harrison County continued to battle they could not get any closer than the final 68-55 margin.
Defensively, Harrison County caused 15 Collins turnovers while only turning the ball over nine times.
Collins had a big 43-16 advantage on the boards and shot the ball better than Harrison County, which was the ultimate downfall for the Breds again.
Scott Kendall was the top scorer for Harrison County with 12 points followed by Hicks who had 10.
Collins was led by four players, seniors Buddy Johnson, Dwayne Marshall, Terez Smith and junior Ralphie Stone, all in double figures.