CAMPBELL HILL — Trico had a big game at the line making 23 free throws to hold off Harrisburg, 58-52, on the fourth day of the Trico Invitational-Murphysboro Ernie Bosarth Memorial Tournament Thursday.
“We could have folded twice in the second half when they went on a 10-point run to turn a six-point lead into a four-point deficit and again in the fourth when they cut a seven-point lead down to one, but we responded well,” said Trico coach Dan King. “We want to play physical if the officials will let us. Last night Sparta out-manned up a little bit, so I think tonight we were ready for it.”
Trico (2-1) went to the line 36 times in the game, including making 12-of-17 in the fourth quarter to put the game away. Trico only committed 13 fouls in the game sending the Bulldogs to the line only eight times of which they made five leaving an 18-point differential at the charity stripe.
Nick Compton led the Pioneers with 17 points, including 7-of-8 from the line making his last three in the last 27 seconds. Carter Naile finished with 15 points and 7-of-12 from the charity stripe and Isaac Kranawetter contributed with 10 points.
“I’m not normally that good from the line, but tonight I was feeling it with this being a big game against a great team,” Compton said. “I was out to win it tonight after not playing too well last night in our loss to Sparta. So tonight I was working on my defense, catching the ball and playing offense and getting everyone involved with passing and cutting and things like that. Early in the game we didn’t expect them to pressure us, so it got to us, but we adjusted.”
Harrisburg (1-2) kept coming back in the second half turning a six-point deficit early in the third quarter into a four-point lead, but Trico came back to take retake the lead at the buzzer on a steal by Jesse Smith with a pass to Kranawetter for a layup to take a one-point lead into the fourth.
“We did battle,” said Harrisburg coach Randy Smithpeters. “I thought we played harder tonight than we did our first two games, so we’re learning the pace we have to play at. I thought we needed to execute some defensive things better. I also thought we didn’t run our offense as well as we have to.”
The Pioneers built upon that momentum with Smith hitting a jumper to open the final eight minutes. After Darion Barners was called for a technical foul while battling for a rebound, sending Jacob Lodge to the line where he split his pair of foul shots. One minute and 16 seconds later, Naile drew a foul and made both of his shots to up the lead to six points with 5:23 remaining in the game.
Trico led by seven with 3:05 remaining and after Naile missed two free throws Smithpeters called a timeout to map out his final strategy. The Bulldogs then went on a 7-1 run starting with a layup by Andrew Bittle and ending with a 3-pointer by Ben Brombaugh with 40.1 seconds left to cut the lead one.
Compton then scored on a fastback layup drawing the foul. He completed the three-point play. Compton was fouled again 6.4 seconds later and made both his fouls shots to up the lead to six with 20.3 remaining.
Bittle scored on a putback to cut the lead back to four with 13.5 left. Naile was then fouled and made both to seal the win.