CAMPBELL HILL — Coming off a dominating 64-49 win over Steeleville to open the Murphysboro Ernie Bozarth Memorial/Trico Invitational boys basketball tournament, Harrisburg continued its dominating play with a 64-41 win over Trico.
"Last night was our first game and our goal is to get better every night and I thought we executed much better tonight," said Harrisburg coach Randy Smithpeters. "We ran our offense better and got the shots we wanted and hit those shots. We were consistent for 32 minutes."
The Bulldogs canned 10 3-pointers in the game led by Isaiah Saulsberry with four and Dalton Lambert and Carson Burtis finishing with two each.
Harrisburg finished with four players in double digit scoring led by Saulsberry with 16 points followed by Lambert with 14, Will Gibbs with 12 and Blake Drue with 10. Lambert, who had a double-double against Steeleville, just missed his second one finishing with nine rebounds.
"Dalton is doing great on the boards and is doing well offensively," Smithpeters said. "He’s a guy who can step out and shoot which you don’t expect. We bill him as a post player and he does play the post, but he can also step out and hit the 3. He can do some things and has spent a lot of time in the gym."
Monday, the Bulldogs got off to slow start falling behind 6-0, but tonight Harrisburg turned it around jumping out to a 6-0 lead on 3-pointers by Drue and Burtis in the first 47 seconds.
A layup by Ryan Vogt got the Pioneers on the board, but Lambert struck back on a putback and a 3-pointer to extend the lead to 10 points. Trico cut a point off with a free throw by Carter Naile.
Drue got it going again with a fast break layup and a steal to set up Gibbs, who was fouled attempting a layup. Gibbs made both his charity tosses to give Harrisburg a 13-point lead with 1:52 left in the first quarter.
"We knew they were good," said Trico coach Andrew Wilson. "They got a lot of athletes. They can really pressure the ball and they are disciplined. They also have a lot of good shooters. I don’t know what they’re shooting percentage from 3-point was, but it was pretty darn good. I don’t think Saulsberry missed a shot except for two dunks. I’m proud of the way our boys played defense and couldn’t ask anything more from them tonight, but Harrisburg is that good of a team."
The Harrisburg defense set the tone from the opening tip-off forcing nine Trico turnovers in the first quarter, including three steals by Drue, and 25 for the game.
"I call it a tradition is how the guys use defense to get them started," Smithpeters said. "The press helped us and we defended well and adjusted well in the half court and inside because their big guy (Jared) Meyerhoff is a tough guy to handle."
Saulsberry canned his second 3-pointer to open the second quarter to extend the Bulldogs lead to 16 points. The teams traded baskets for the five minutes when Lambert scored on back-to-back layups to extend the lead to 20 with 1:23 remaining and the lead remained that way.
The Bulldogs came out of the locker room blazing with Drue scoring at the 58 second mark. Saulsberry then stole the ball near mid-court and scored 11 seconds later. Saulsberry added the third 3-pointer to start a 9-4 run to increase the lead to 29 points with 2:59 remaining in the third quarter.
Meyerhoff stopped the run with a putback and a free throw and Naile added a layup to cut the lead back to 24, but Gibbs swished a 3-pointer with 39 seconds left to give the Bulldogs a 27-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. Meyerhoff finished with 13 points, eight rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots.
The fourth quarter opened with three consecutive 3-pointers in a 45 seconds span. Chandler Volkman got it started with a shot from the right side to cut into the lead, but Harrisburg came back on a 3-pointer from the right of key by Lambert and 29 seconds later Saulsberry hit his fourth from five feet beyond the top of the key to extend the lead to 30 points with 6:53 remaining.
The second day action started with Chester beating North Tech, 58-37, and ended with Steeleville, making 25 of 32 free throws, to rebound from its loss to Harrisburg at Murphysboro with a 59-48 win over Sparta.