HARRISBURG — On a night when Murphysboro senior Jeremy House eclipsed the 1,000 career point mark, his potential game-tying 3-pointer at the overtime horn fell short as Harrisburg held on for a 63-60 win over the Red Devils on Friday evening.
The Bulldogs never trailed in the extra session after Carson Burtis got the scoring started with a 3-pointer, but had to hang on in the final minute for the win after building an eight-point advantage in overtime.
Senior Isaiah Saulsberry paced his club with 22 points for the Bulldogs. Teammate Dalton Lambert also scored in double figures, finishing with 13 points for Harrisburg (12-3, 3-1 SIRR Ohio).
"It was a very tough game like we expected,"said Harrisburg coach Randy Smithpeters. "We talked about the fact that this was going to be a one or two possession game before it ever started. What I'm really proud about, and what I'm really happy for these guys, was the final four minutes of the game and the four minutes of the overtime. I thought we kind of toughened up a little bit. I thought we went through a stretch where we softened up defensively and perhaps didn't make some good decisions offensively, but I thought down the stretch and in the overtime, we were pretty tough."
Murphysboro (10-4, 2-1 SIRR Ohio) led 26-21 at intermission and found itself in front 40-35 entering the fourth quarter.
Both teams seemed to have multiple opportunities to put the game away late.
House tied the contest by connecting on a pair of free throws with 9.2 seconds left in regulation. Harrisburg's Jordan Bartok then missed a jumper, and on the rebound, the Bulldogs, who were over the limit, were called for a foul with 1.7 seconds remaining.
Jamarr McZeke missed the front end of the bonus for Murphysboro, and it was the Red Devils who fouled Harrisburg on the next rebound.
Lambert returned the favor by missing the front end of his one-and-one, which sent the game into overtime.
"I was proud of the way we came back there late," said Murphysboro coach Daryl Murphy. "And we had to do it again in overtime. We had a good shot at the end there, but it was just a well-played game on both ends. They were just a better team tonight."
House finished with 22 points for Murphysboro. Corbin Guthman added a dozen in the scoring column for the Red Devils.
"Jeremy's been huge for us obviously," said Murphy of the school's latest 1,000-point club member. "He's a three-year starter now, and our team kind of evolves around him without any question. He's doing a lot of things for us, besides just putting the ball in the basket. Defensively, assist-wise, leading rebounder, he's doing a great job, and he's got a good career ahead of him, I think, playing."
The Red Devils had beaten Harrisburg in the finals of the Ernie Bozath Memorial Tournament just after Thanksgiving. The two clubs will meet again in Jackson County on Feb. 10.
Harrisburg heads to Marion on Saturday night. Murphysboro, which has dropped three in a row, returns to action when it hosts West Frankfort on Tuesday.