Benton head girls' coach Andy Sloan knew his Rangerettes needed to withstand Harrisburg's "first punch" in their matchup Thursday in SIRR Ohio action and while the Bulldogs didn't deliver the proverbial knock out blow, it was a constant barrage of rights and lefts in the Bulldogs' 66-31 victory.
Harrisburg got it done on the defensive end, holding Benton to 23 percent shooting (12-for-52) and limiting the Rangerettes to 2-of-15 shooting from behind the arc and 5-of-10 from the free throw line.
Benton was also out rebounded 34-20 with Harrisburg grabbing 25 defensive boards in the win.
Harrisburg jumped out to a 14-4 start thanks in large part to three triples from Lotte Miller, Jessica Hopson and Karsyn Davis. The Bulldogs kept their foot on the gas and went into the locker room leading 33-12.
"Give Harrisburg credit, they took us out of our game early," Sloan said. "They pressured us, we got back on our heels and threw the ball away. The one thing we talked about was being able to withstand their first punch, because Harrisburg is going to punch you, but you have to stand back up and not deviate from the game plan and we did the opposite"
Harrisburg shot 57 percent from the field, going 24-42 and shot 58 percent from 3-point range, finishing 7-for-12, while knocking down 11-of-15 free throws for 73 percent.
Harrisburg (24-0, 7-0 SIRR) and ranked No. 1 in Class 2A, put three players in double figures as Miller put up a game-high 19 points, while Hopson drilled three triples and went 4-for-4 from the line and finished with 15 points. Davis tacked on 11 points to round out the double figure scoring.
"Getting off to a fast start is something that we talked about," Harrisburg head coach Jake Stewart said. "We talked about how if our defense comes to play and shows up, it should help us get out to that fast start and I believe it did."
Madeline Rider added eight points for Harrisburg, while Matty Hawkins scored six points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked six shots. Essence Sanders finished with four points, while Brooke Meylor tossed in two points and Lauren McDaniel had a free throw.
Addisyn Miller had a team-high 13 points for Benton, who is now 4-4 in conference play and 12-13 overall.
Zoe Carlton scored six points for the Rangerettes, while Katy Johnson finished with five points. Mady Wallace flipped in four points and Ember Milby tacked on three points.
The Harrisburg junior varsity team rallied in the second half to beat Benton 43-37.
Michael Dann covers prep and college sports for the Harrisburg Register, Eldorado Journal & The Gallatin County Democrat. Follow him on Twitter: @spydieshooter.