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Posted On: 01/5/18 8:30 AM
Photo credit: Jon Klemme via Twitter @jonklemme
It was a great atmosphere in Harrisburg last night for the top ten matchup between the Yankton Bucks and the Harrisburg Tigers. Going into the game a few of the questions, besides who was going to win, were who’s going to guard who, and how. Harrisburg has had solid balance on the offensive end this year while on the other hand, Yankton has an absolute stud for a freshman in Matthew Mors.
It was a very well contested game for the entire 1st half. In the 1st quarter, Yankton did a very good job being physical, forcing contact on the offensive end which allowed them to get easy layups and draw fouls. Harrisburg had three starters with two fouls each at the end of the first quarter. Yankton crushed the offensive glass which led to those easy shots in the paint. On the other hand, Harrisburg shot a lot of outside jumpers (which they do a lot of anyway), but couldn’t get any to fall. At the half, Harrisburg led 28-26.
2nd half was all Tigers. Led by Nick Hoyt, the Tigers got the offense rolling. Hoyt did a great job of playing with pace and initiating offense in the half court as well as transition. Brady Van Holland shot it very well, especially early on in the 4th quarter where he hit two or three 3pts in a row. Lastly, Harrisburg was really able to take control of the paint early in the 2nd half by getting some post touches to Ace Zorr and Michael Curry who converted down low. Mors finished with 23 to lead all scorers, but Harrisburg proved why they are deserving of the #2 ranking.
1.) Zorr is an absolute warrior! I think he makes this team so much better. He is an x-factor on the defensive end blocking shots, rebounding, and has the ability to guard permitter players. His ability to guard smaller guys allows him to play in help side and come over to protect the rim. He had 7 blocks last night! Plays extremely hard on both ends and he has really improved his offensive skill set. With Zorr on the floor, he allows Harrisburg to be a high caliber team that can compete with the other teams in the state who have size and/or athleticism.
2.) Mors is a great young talent. I’ve seen Mors play varsity basketball now since he was a 7th grader. I was really impressed by his growth last night. His passing ability and vision on the floor has gotten better. Yankton does good job moving the ball out of his hands and then still getting him touch later in the possession. He didn’t force much last night and made good decisions. Mors also showed some increased athleticism defending permitter spots and contesting shots at rim.
3.) Harrisburg is deep and versatile. Van Holland and Chase Altenburg took turns guarding Mors most of the night (which in my opinion is the best way to guard him – smaller quicker athletes to negate permitter and double on post). Both players are about 6’3 – 6’4 with good length so they can guard some larger players down low. This also allows other players who are good help defenders (Zorr & Curry) to play off the ball and to their strengths. I was impressed with the defensive effort Harrisburg showed, especially the 2nd half when they rebounded better.
4.) Hoyt is a leader. He plays under control so well and has great body language on the floor. What else to you want from a PG? Oh… maybe 16 points and a handful of assists… okay! He got Harrisburg in their sets when needed and also pushed tempo in transition. Really enjoyed watching him lead.
5.) Both teams are very well coached. I thought each team played to their strengths, executed game plan, played hard and played tough. As a coach you ask your kids every night to compete, play hard and leave everything out there. I think both squads did that. It is also obvious that both teams know their strengths, know their roles on each team and play cohesively. That makes it fun to watch and I credit Chris Haynes (Yankton HC) and Scott Langerock (Harrisburg HC) for that.