Harrison Central Boys Fall to Ridgewood, 55-47 in Ohio Division III Sectional Tournament
WEST LAFAYETTE — Like most nights, Harrison Central had the best player inside the gymnasium Friday in its Division III sectional tournament game against Ridgewood in senior Kobe Mitchell.
Unfortunately, for Harrison, the Generals’ collective foot speed, strength and sheer physicality allowed them to overcome Mitchell’s brilliance.
Those intangibles as well as a winning mentality that’s led the Generals deep in the football, basketball and baseball postseasons in recent years, Ridgewood was able to put forth a strong effort in the fourth quarter to pull away for a 55-47 victory.
“They were able to get it up and down a little bit (in the fourth) to get some easy ones and they made winning plays,” a disappointed Justin Clifford said. “Those kinds of things are why they are successful. It’s a group that knows how to win and they all make winning plays. I thought we brought it (Friday) and we hadn’t always done that
While the loss ends the Huskies season at 14-10, it signaled the end of Mitchell’s career that will forever be remembered in Harrison County.
The University of Akron signee led all scorers in the game with 26 points. He finished his prep career with 2,421 points, ranking him 15th all time in Ohio lore. In the OVAC, he sits fourth all time.
“I’ll never forget anything I was part of at (Harrison Central),” Mitchell said. “I am thankful for the opportunity Coach Clifford gave me four years ago to lead this year, and I’ll forever be grateful to him and I’ll never forget it.”
Mitchell accumulated 722 points this season, which was good for a 30.1 points a game average.
“This (season) went by super fast, and you just wish you could go back and do it all over again,” Mitchell said. “There was some success in my career, but this loss (to Ridgewood) stings. We thought we had a chance to make a good run in the tournament, so this hurts. Overall, my career at Harrison Central was pretty good, but I’d do anything to go back and start it over.”
Clifford fought back emotion as he took a moment to reflect on what Mitchell has meant to not only the team, but him personally.
“What is there to say?” Clifford said. “I know people say it, but I mean it totally. He’s a great basketball player and a better kid. He’s truly as good as they come. He gives you a chance (to win) every night out and sure as heck gave us a chance (against Ridgewood).”
Mitchell played like a guy who didn’t want to begin to think about baseball season or his future with the Zips. He scored all 10 of the Huskies points in the first quarter, but Ridgewood owned an 11-10 upperhand.,
Ridgewood, which double teamed Mitchell most of the night, made him and Harrison Central work extremely hard with its physical-style of play. The Generals, however, still looked up at a 22-21 deficit at halftime because senior Skylar Mazeroski and freshman Hayden Cassidy each hit a trey and sophomore Jace Madzia came off the bench for four.
The Generals owned a 35-33 lead after three and then sophomore Braden Maleski came off the bench to provide a spark from the perimeter. He hit a pair of bonus goals and added a mid-range jumper later in the fourth. Add in a pair of buckets from senior Gabe Tingle after the Huskies had knotted the game at 40 and it was the back-breaking run Harrison had avoided.
Meanwhile, Mitchell scored the final seven Harrison points of the season, but the Huskies could only get as close as four at 51-47.
Morgan 46, Union Local 42
MORRISTOWN — Luke Merritt scored 11 points to reach 1,000 career points but the Jets’ magical season came to an end with a four-point setback to Morgan.
Liam Vinskovich paced Union Local with 15 points and Nathan Meyer also bucketed 11.
Shenandoah 69, Shadyside 47
SARAHSVILLE — Elijah Brock netted 19 points and Korey Beckett added 11 but the Tigers’ outstanding campaign was hulted by Shenandoah.
Monroe Central 44
STRASBURG — Despite a valiant second half effort, Monroe Central was ousted from postseason play by Strasburg.
Luke Burkhart netted 13 points for the Seminoles and Auston Hogue tallied 10.
Steubenville Catholic 44
MILLERSBURG — Hiland held Steubenville Catholic to four points in the first quarter and never looked back.
Charles Miller led the team with 16 points in the team’s finale.