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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Boys Basketball: Sweet Success

  • Bulldogs back in Sweet 16 after setting school record 29th win over Chester
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  • Among the sea of purple Wednesday night at West Frankfort’s Max Morris Gymnasium, the Harrisburg boys’ basketball team rode the tidal wave of their fanfare clear past Chester in a 75-54 victory in the IHSA Class 2A Sectional semifinals.
    The win was huge in many reasons for the Bulldogs and their faithful fans.
    Harrisburg set a school mark for wins in a season with 29, eclipsing last year’s record of 28 and the Bulldogs are now in the Sweet 16 for the third straight season.
    Up next on the horizon is a date with Nashville as Harrisburg looks to give Harrisburg head coach Randy Smithpeters his sixth sectional trophy.
    “We wanted to set the school record for wins, but of course, more importantly was moving on,” Smithpeters said. “We did a good job of focusing on what our job was tonight against the Yellow Jackets. They came out in a 1-3-1 zone, which is something we don’t see a whole lot of and I thought we adjusted well to that. We wanted to defend well and I thought we did that.
    “We put together a good start and actually we put together a good 32 minutes. I think, as you can expect, the intensity fell off a little bit in the second half, but up 25 that’s almost impossible to maintain that. We did what we had to do to get that lead and that’s what’s important.”
    Harrisburg (29-1) has now won 13 straight since their 76-68 loss to Dyer County, Tenn., on Jan. 11 at the Penny Hardaway Shootout. Prior to that, the Bulldogs started the season 12-0.
    The 21-point victory stands as a battle cry for Smithpeters and company as they continue their tear on the defensive end of the court.
    No team has scored more than 59 points against Harrisburg all year long, the lone team being Dyer County.
    The Bulldogs looked ever so intent on keeping that mark in tact as they exploded to a 30-9 first quarter lead on the strength of 17 points from Tyler Smithpeters and another seven from Capel Henshaw.
    Chester coughed the ball up five times in their first seven possessions and were beat on the boards nearly every trip down the floor.
    Harrisburg opened the game up shooting 12-of-16 from the floor and 4-of-7 from beyond the arc, while Chester was limited to just 4-of-9 shooting.
    The fast start was just business as usual for the Bulldogs.
    “First of all, I think we’re pretty good,“ Smithpeters admitted. “Secondly, we defend well. Again, the big number on the scoreboard is the 9. It’s great to have the 30, but even if we had 20, it’s still 20-9. We make things so difficult for teams on the defensive end, plus we generate so many points off that defensive end with steals, deflections and more often than not, missed shots that we rebound and get up and down the floor.”
    Page 2 of 3 - From there Harrisburg was off and running, building a 48-23 lead at halftime and closing the third quarter out 63-36.
    The Bulldogs put three players in double figures with Smithpeters leading all scorers with 25 points. The senior shooting guard was 7-of-15 from the field and 4-of-9 from beyond the arc, while going 7-of-8 from the free throw line.
    Henshaw tacked on 22 for Harrisburg as the Lewis University signee had the lone double-double, pulling down 11 rebounds, while going 9-of-13 from the floor and 2-of-5 from 3-point range.
    Dakota Upchurch put up 11 as the big man went 5-of-8 in the paint and had six rebounds.
    Eli Taborn-Scott and Jarren Goldman each had four points for Harrisburg, while Ryne Roper and Logan Hartley each had three points. Justin Younger tacked on two points, while Caleb Bartok had a free throw.
    Chester (21-9) was led in scoring by Jake Lochhead, who had 12 points and Caleb Arbeiter put up 10 points for the Yellow Jackets.
    Michael Dann can be reached at mdann@dailyregister.com. Follow him on twitter @spydieshooter.
    Harrisburg 75
    Chester 54
    Harrisburg (29-1)
    Name         FG     FT     R     F     Pts
    Smithpeters         7-15     7-8     4     2     25
    Henshaw         9-13     2-3     11     2     22
    Roper         1-3     0-0     0     0     3
    Scott         2-6     0-1     1     3     4
    Upchurch         5-8     1-4     6     3     11
    Bjornsson         0-2     0-0     4     2     0
    Younger         1-2     0-2     2     1     2
    Bartok         0-1     1-2     1     0     1
    Batts         0-3     0-0    1     0     0
    Goldman         2-2     0-0     2     0     4
    Houston         0-2     0-0     1     1     0
    Oglesby         0-1     0-0     0     0     0
    Page 3 of 3 - Hartley         1-1     1-2     1     0     3
    Simerly         0-0     0-0     1     0     0
    Totals         29-60     12-22     34     14     75
    Chester (21-9)
    Name         FG     FT     R     F     Pts
    Lochhead         3-7     4-6     4     4     12
    Cushman         2-7     2-2     2     2     6
    Landon         4-10     0-0     7     3     9
    Arbeiter         3-4     4-6     3     1     10
    Schwartz         3-8     3-4     1     2     9
    Weir         1-4     0-0     10     2     2
    Miles         2-2     0-0     4     1     4
    Mileur         0-2     0-0     0     1     0
    Koeneman         1-1     0-0     0    0     2
    Totals         19-45     13-20     32     17     54
    3-point FG: Harrisburg 7-20 (Smithpeters 4, Henshaw 2, Roper), Chester 3-10 (Lochhead 2, Landon). Turnovers: Harrisburg 9, Chester 16.
        Harrisburg     30  18  15  12 - 75
        Chester     09  14  13  18 - 54

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