The Harrison County Thorobreds (3-8) were in search of confidence and a much-needed win Tuesday night when they traveled to square off with the Augusta Panthers (7-6). On paper the teams would appear to be evenly matched, and evenly matched they were for about three minutes in the first quarter. Augusta took control of the game with a few long runs, handing the Breds a 70-84 loss and a seven-game losing streak.
Hats off to Augusta tonight, said Harrison County coach Mike Reitz. They outplayed us and whipped our tails tonight.
The Breds have not added to the win column since defeating Covington Scott in an 80-77 nail-biter on Dec. 8.
In the opening minutes of Tuesdays game, it appeared Harrison County would be able to match the Panthers intensity, but with five minutes remaining in the quarter, Augusta took control and ran out to a 26-17 lead.
In the second quarter, the Breds were outscored 21-14, making Augustas lead at the break 31-47.
In the third quarter, the Breds scored four points early, but went scoreless for nearly four minutes while the Panthers pushed their lead to a 21-point margin.
In the final quarter, Harrison County outscored Augusta 21-17 and at one-point had shaved the lead down to only nine points. In the end, the Panthers claimed a 14-point, 70-84 victory.
Augustas Mefford led all scorers in the game with 22 points and 14 rebounds. Dustin Staggs chipped in 20 points and 13 rebounds, Ryan Kelch scored 18 points and John Grey dropped in 12 points.
The Breds were led by junior John Michael Reitz with 19 points. Senior Brett Franklin scored 17, and junior Ryan Puckett scored 12.
Franklin, the Breds leading scorer when healthy, was unavailable to play most of the second half due to an aggravation of a knee-injury that benched him earlier in the season.
The Panthers out-rebounded the Breds 42-27.
After the game, Coach Reitz pinned the blame for the Breds poor performance on defensive break-downs.
It doesnt seem to matter what defense were in, theres a breakdown somewhere. If you have a breakdown by just one or two players, that can kill us, said Reitz.
Looking ahead, Reitz said he will call upon his team to collectively make some decisions to turn their season around.
Until we decide as a team that were going to pull together and be there for one another on defense, nothing is going to work, said Reitz. But, there are 14 games left and we need to stay positive and try to get things going in a good direction. By district tournament time, I believe well be in a position to be competitive.
The Breds also dropped a game to Campbell County in the second round of the Mason County Invitational last Thursday, Jan. 4. The score was 64-56 and Harrison County was led by junior Eric Case with 19 points, sophomore Jared Martin with 13, and Franklin with 10.
Tonight the Breds will travel to Bracken County to face the struggling Polar Bears (1-14) in a bid to right their ship before what promises to be a very difficult test against the fourth-ranked Bryan Station (14-1) team, and sensational senior Shelvin Mack, that will come to the Hilltop tomorrow.
The Breds and Polar Bears will tip-off at 7:30 p.m. tonight.
The Breds first home game since Dec. 4 will tip-off against Bryan Station tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m.