Huskies Too Much For Monarchs

MOUNDSVILLE – John Marshall basketball coach Bill Storm had little love for his team on Valentine’s Day.

In a game where the Monarchs fell to Harrison Central, 57-31, the veteran coach had one stat he couldn’t wrap his head around.

John Marshall was 1 of 12 from the free-throw line.

”If you’re 1 of 12 with nobody guarding you, then how are you supposed to score?” he questioned. ”I’m out of reasons. We’re just not very good. (Harrison Central) came out and played good defense and played harder then we did. That’s for sure.”

The Huskies (12-10) brought their full-court pressure into the John Marshall Fieldhouse and simply stifled the Monarchs (3-12).

”We knew they were going to come after us,” Storm said. ”We just can’t score. Sometimes we get shots and just miss layups.”

The Monarchs, who average 22 turnovers a game, gave the ball up 23 times. Harrison Central, on the other hand, only coughed it up eight times.

A lot of JM’s problems came right off the inbound pass, as the Huskies double-teamed the ballhandler and he simply had no one to pass it to.

”All we had to do when they doubled was come and help,” Storm said. ”Don’t go run and hide. Come back and help him. Catch it, square up and look down the court because someone’s going to open for a layup. We worked on that, too.

”They don’t have any confidence in their ball handling and they’re weak physically. When you couple that together, they’re just not very comfortable with the ball in their hands. There’s not a whole lot we can do about that.”

Dustin Redish, who finished with a game-high 14 points, got things going early for the Huskies as he hit back-to-back baskets to put Harrison Central ahead 11-4 with 4:37 to play in the first.

Austin Kowalski and Kalub Mitchell hit consecutive 3-pointers to start the second to extend the lead to 23-11 and went into halftime ahead 31-19 when Cory Yoho connected on a figure tip roll with .6 seconds showing.

Harrison Central outscored John Marshall 26-12 in the second half.

”I thought we’ve been playing great as of late,” Huskies coach Justin Clifford said. ”I think we continued on that path. Defensively, we got after it again like we have every game. We only gave up 12 points in the second half. That’s a pretty good defensive effort. We play well together and the guys are stepping up.”

Harrison Central finished the game shooting 22 of 52 and finished 9 of 18 from the line after a 3 of 8 start.

”I thought we shot the ball pretty well,” Clifford noted. ”We took good shots. We’ve been like that all year, just (Friday) it went in. We throw it to the open guy and he attacks the hoop. These guys don’t care who scores the points just as long as we have more than the other team.”

It’s true.

Austin Kowalski, the Huskies’ leading scorer with 16 points per game, finished with only seven points.

”It’s nice when your leading scorer doesn’t get double-figures and you’re still able to score 57,” Clifford said.

Yoho added 10 points and four rebounds for Harrison Central, while Mitchell added five points and five steals.

Logan Grimm paced the Monarchs with 11 points and was 4 of 7 from inside the arc.

”At this point, you just look at any positives you can get,” Storm said of Grimm’s performance.

The Monarchs season doesn’t get any easier. After a 2-1 start, JM has lost 10 of 11 and has upcoming games against East Liverpool (12-5) and Wheeling Park (12-4).