Harrisburg head coach Randy Smithpeters has kept one word from being erased on the drawing board all season long.
That one word: adversity and Harrisburg got plenty of it Friday night at Massac County.
In a game the Bulldogs never led in, Harrisburg suffered its first loss in 21 games dating back to last season, suffering a 74-56 defeat to the Patriots.
It was a win, that for Joe Hosman, knows might not mean much considering how many more times the two teams will see each other.
It's likely Harrisburg and Massac County could meet in the semifinals of the Eldorado Holiday Tournament and aside from the near 20-point defeat, Hosman knows the final score isn't any indication of Harrisburg as a whole.
"This game is not indicitative of how the next two games will be. It's not. We're just happy with the win, because coach Smithpeters and the Bulldogs have had such a strangle hold on us for the past three years. He's had it on a lot of people though.
"Coach Smithpeters runs a great program and has sustained such a level of success for so many years," Hosman said. "They're a team, right now, that will play better than they did tonight."
The loss snapped a 12-game win streak against Massac County, but for Smithpeters, the game proved to be more of a learning experience than anything else.
"We have to play good teams to make ourselves better and I thought this was the best team we have played all season. I mentioned, even before our first game of that season, that we have to experience things. We do have an inexperienced team and here is a Massac County team that plays hard, runs the floor well and rebounds well.
"Our goal for this game is to use it to make ourselves better — to learn from this — and thats what I hope we do. We need to keep our head up and we know we have things to learn from."
Harrisburg trailed at the end of each quarter, including trailing by 10, 40-30 at halftime.
The first half showed a glaring weakness in the Harrisburg arsenal as they got beat in transition on defense, committing eight turnovers, that led to easy buckets for Massac County.
"Their lead in the first half is from layups, dunks and just breakaways. If you take that away, we are probably tied at halftime," Smithpeters said.
The 10-pont, 40-30 lead Massac County built in the first half grew to 17 in the second half after Jalen Roundtree sunk in a free throw with a little less than two minutes to play in the frame.
Page 2 of 3 - "We come out in a little bit of a hole," Smithpeters admitted. "We don't keep them off the glass and that was one of our keys before the game. If we don't rebound, we don't win this ballgame. We knew they were going to put up a lot of shots, a lot of quick shots and when we had to have a rebound, we didn't do a very good job of doing that."
Harrisburg was outrebounded 39-36, while the Bulldogs committed 23 turnovers on the night, as opposed to just 17 by the Patriots.
The Bulldogs put three players in double figures as Eli Taborn-Scott scored a team-high 19 points. Bahari Amaya added 11 points and Jarren Goldman scored 10.
Dalton Mitchell led all players with 23 points as the Massac County senior guard joined Roundtree (18) and Andy Walquist (12) in double figures.
"Anytime you beat Harrisburg in anything...They're well coached and compete in everything they do," Hosman said. "It's just one game, we'll probably have to see them again two more times and we're happy with the victory. You have to win your games at home if you want to have a chance to win the conference and I'm just proud of how my kids played. We built on a lead, attacked the basket and we still, down the stretch, shot the ball too quick. It was a good win for us."
For Smithpeters, the loss showed things his Bulldogs can improve on and Smithpeters noted, "It's not a case of this being a situation where we don't have the skills or athletes. Its just something we have to learn to do better.
"We have to get better at running our offense," he said. "The intensity and not letting up. They shoot a shot, we relax, they get the rebound. We make a turnover, we relax, they run out in transition. We don't run the floor. Little things. Things we talked about all week and things we just didn't do very well."
Harrisburg 10 20 16 10 — 56
Massac Co. 18 22 14 17 — 74
Harrisburg (4-1, 1-1): Houston 1-6 3-5 5, Goldman 4-8 2-7 10, Simerly 2-6 0-0 4, Amaya 5-17 0-0 11, Scott 8-20 3-7 19, Crim 3-5 1-2 7, Street 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 23-61 9-21 56.
Massac Co. (6-2, 2-0): Blye 1-5 2-7 8, Mitchell 5-16 12-13 23, Roundtree 8-18 1-2 18, Walquist 6-8 0-0 12, Kendall 4-8 0-0 8, Rose 0-0 0-0 0, Stoner 0-1 0-2 0, Welch 1-1 0-2 2, Reinwald 3-5 0-1 7. Totals: 28-62, 15-25 74.
3-pointers: Harrisburg 1-10 (Houston 0-2, Goldman 0-1, Amaya 1-6). Massac Co. 3-12 (Mitchell 1-5, Roundtree 1-5, Reinwald 1-3). Rebounds: Harrisburg 33, Massac Co. 39. Turnovers: Harrisburg 23, Massac Co. 17. Fouls: Harrisburg 20, Massac Co. 25.
Harrisburg 82, Du Quoin 45
DU QUOIN — Eli Taborn Scott became the latest member of the Harrisburg High School basketball 1,000th point club when he tallied 19 in a bounce-back victory against Du Quoin Saturday night.
Page 3 of 3 - "We're happy with the win and I'm very happy for Eli," Smithpeters said. "He's had a great career here at HHS and its far from over. We really wanted to rebound after (Friday night). Not sure how much it helped us from a competitive standpoint, but it helped up from a coaching perspective because we still talk about how we want to do things correctly even though the competition may have not been there."
Corbin Crim had a big game for the Bulldogs as the sophomore pumped in a game-high 20 points. Amaya scored 17 to finish in double figures for Harrisburg.
Harrisburg 17 25 22 18 — 82
Du Quoin 05 10 14 16 — 45
Harrisburg (5-1): Houston 1-3 2-6 5, Goldman 0-2 0-0 0, Simerly 3-6 0-0 6, Amaya 8-12 1-1 17, Scott 7-11 5-5 19, Crim 8-11 6-9 22, Street 1-1 0-0 2, Batts 1-2, 1-1 4, Lane 0-0 1-2 1, Gregg 0-1 0-0 0, Fowler 2-2 0-05, Owens 0-1 0-0 0, Bittle 0-0 2-2 2, Barger 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 31-54, 19-27 82.
Du Quoin (0-7): Hopkins 1 0-0 2, Bullar 4 6-6 14, Mercier 3 0-0 6, Smith 2 2-2 6, Showalter 2 0-0 4, Wright 3 2-2 9, Heatherly 1 0-0 2, Kuhnert 1 0-1 2. Totals: 17 10-11 45.
3-pointers: Harrisburg 1-4 (Fowler 1-1, Houston 0-1, Amaya 0-1, Batts 0-1). Du Quoin 1 (Wright). Rebounds: Harrisburg 26, Du Quoin 20. Turnovers: Harrisburg 16, Du Quoin 30. Fouls: Harrisburg 17, Du Quoin 22.