Harrisburg rolls past host Trico
Bulldogs win 64-41; Chester tops North Tech; Steeleville edges Sparta

- Head coach Randy Smithpeters always wants his Harrisburg Bulldogs to get off to a good start defensively.

It has been that way ever since he took over this program in 1993-94.

The 2017-18 edition of Bulldog basketball has that same philosophy.

Tuesday night at the Trico Pioneer Invitational Tournament, Harrisburg used its full-court press to create turnovers and early points.

Against the pressure, Trico coughed up 21-turnovers and the Bulldogs turned most of the early miscues into points as they never trailed in a 64-41 victory.

Senior's Isaiah Saulsberry and Blake Drue along with classmate forward Dalton Lambert and sophomore Will Gibbs all contributed double-digit points as Harrisburg improved to 2-0 in the tournament and overall.

Saulsberry, a 6-foot-3 guard, netted 16 while Lambert added 14.

Gibbs scored 12 while Drue kicked it 10 as Harrisburg jumped out to a double-figure lead and never trailed in the win.

“It (defensively) is the way that we want to start. It is what we are used to. Using our defense to get our offense started,” said Coach Smithpeters. “We expressed that our defense was going to be important tonight. I thought that we defended well and our press helped us get going. We also defended well in the half-court.”

Trico fell to 0-2 on the season as they got behind early and never recovered enough to make any substantial moves to get back into the contest.

Jared Meyerhoff scored 13-points for the Pioneers while teammate Ryan Vogt added 10.

From the opening tap on, Harrisburg was in command, as they forced nine of the Trico turnovers in the first frame.

Consecutive 3-point bombs by Drue and senior guard Carson Burtis gave the Bulldogs a quick 6-0 lead less than a minute into the game.

Five points on a rebound basket and a 3-pointer from Lambert pushed the lead to 12-2 with 4:32 left in the opening quarter.

Gibbs came off of the bench and scored some early points and Saulsberry canned his first of four 3-pointers as the Bulldogs closed the stanza leading 20-7.

“Our bench is going to help us. We have some quickness on the bench, we have some size on the bench and we have some shooters so we have some depth,” said Coach Smithpeters.

Harrisburg hit all four of their 3-point attempts in the opening minutes.

When the Pioneers got the ball inside to Meyerhoff, some good things happened.

But the turnovers kept Coach Andrew Wilson's club from getting any momentum going offensively.

“We knew that they were good. They have a lot of athletes and they can really pressure the ball, they are disciplined and they have a lot of good shooters,” said Coach Wilson. “I don't know what their shooting percentage was tonight but is was pretty darn good.”

Leading by just 12 midway through the second quarter, the Bulldogs close the half on an 8-2 run with Saulsberry, Lambert and Drue all producing points.

Scored twice on drives to the bucket, with Saulsberry assisting on one of the scores in transition.

Two free throws by Drue closed the second quarter with Harrisburg up 38-18.

Harrisburg opened the third quarter with the same intensity that Coach Smithpeters' likes to see.

Another 8-2 run, with Drue scoring on a fast break from a outlet pass from Lambert and an immediate steal and lay in from Saulsberry pushed the lead to 42-18.

Trico managed to get the ball to Meyerhoff in more often in the third quarter, which led to some offense inside.

He scored six-points in the paint in the quarter and added a free throw on a conventional 3-point play.

However Trico didn't get many stops in same time frame as Harrisburg poured it on.

Saulsberry added another long range bomb to the offensive run, as did Gibbs and Burtis.

Burtis closed the third quarter with his trey from the left wing to give the Bulldogs a 56-29 lead heading into the fourth.

Senior guard Gavin Thies hit a pair of 3-pointers in the game for six-points for Trico, and his second one of the game opened the fourth quarter.

However Harrisburg's Lambert and Saulsberry hit consecutive 3-pointers to push the lead to 62-32, and began the mercy rule of continuous clock the rest of the contest.

The Bulldogs finished the game 22-of-41 overall (53.6 percent) along with a sparkling 10-of-15 from behind the arc.

They also held a 25-14 rebounding edge and, despite 16-turnovers, they weren't in any trouble.

Five of the turnovers came late in the fourth quarter with the outcome decided.

“I thought tonight we executed better than we did last night,” said Coach Smithpeters. “Our goal is to get better every game and I thought we got a lot better tonight. We ran our offense better and got the shots that we wanted. I thought tonight we were consistent for 32-minutes.”

Trico finished at 44.7 from the floor overall (17-of-38) and only 2-of-10 from the 3-point line.

Both teams head back into action on Wednesday night as Harrisburg will play Red Bud at Murphysboro while Trico will host Sparta.

“I'm proud of the way our boy's played defense. I couldn't really ask for more against that good of a team. It was just our turnovers. You can't win any games making that many mistakes,” said Coach Wilson.

Harrisburg (64) – Davis 0 0 0-0 0, Gibbs 3 1 3-5 12, Burtis 0 2 1-2 7, Drue 2 1 3-4 10, Russ 0 0 0-0 0, Phalin 1 0 0-0 2, Sigler 0 0 0-0 0, Storms 0 0 0-0 0, Saulsberry 2 4 0-0 16, Penrod 0 0 0-0 0, Lambert 4 2 0-2 14, Bartok 0 0 3-4 3, Crabb 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-12, 3FG-10, FT-10-17, PF-14.

Trico (41) – Kranwetter 0 0 1-2 1, Volkman 0 2 0-0 6, Thies 0 2 0-0 6, Smith 2 0 0-0 4, N. Lissimore 0 0 0-0 0, Myers 0 0 0-0 0, Maile 2 0 1-3 5, Vogt 5 0 0-0 10, Compton 1 0 0-1 2, Meyerhoff 5 0 3-5 13, L. Lissimore
2FG-15, 3FG-4, PF-5-11, PF-16.

Fouled Out – None.
Technical Fouls – None.

The Yellow Jackets opened their campaign on a winning note as they took care of North Tech from St. Louis in the opening game at Trico on Tuesday night.

Coach Brad Norman got points from eight different players as they jumped out to a 17-8 first quarter lead and never looked back.

Three Chester players finished with double-figures with Collin Wingerter leading the troops with 15-points while Keith Kiner added 14.

Nick Hefferman added 10-points for the Yellow Jackets in the victory.

North Tech
Chester (58) –Herrell 0 0 0-0 0, Haberberger 0 1 0-1 3, Ashby 0 0 2-4 2, Cushman 0 1 0-0 3, Bollman 1 1 0-0 5, Bert 0 0 0-0 0, 5 0 0-0 10, Keith 2 0 2-2 6, Wingerter 3 3 0-0 15, Kiner 7 0 0-3 14, Nolen 0 0 0-1 0.
2FG-18 3FG-6, FT-4-11, PF-11.

North Tech (37) – Buchanon 0 0 0-0 0, Neal 0 1 0-0 3, Patterson 3 0 2-2 8, White 2 0 0-0 4, Riddle 0 0 2-2 2, Willey 0 0 1-3 1, Morris 1 0 0-0 2, Willis 0 1 0-2 3, Delaney 0 0 0-0 0, Duston 3 0 2-3 8, C Perry 3 0 0-0 6.
2FG-12, 3FG-2, FT-7-12, PF-11.

Fouled Out – None.
Technical Fouls – None.

In the late game Tuesday night, Steeleville held off Sparta, 59-48.
The Warriors led 46-22 at one point when Sparta rallied in the second half to make the final look a bit closer.