Junior Camron Ande came off the bench on Senior Night last Friday to score a career-high 40 points to lead the Harrisburg boys basketball team to a 69-43 win over West Frankfort to get back on the winning track after losing the final game of the 42nd annual Carmi-White County Invitational Tournament.
"The guys knew how important it is to win on Senior Night and to win a conference game, so a lot of things really clicked," said Harrisburg coach Andy Fehrenbacher. "It was a good night. We had other contributions other than Ande off the bench as well. We came out strong and played well in the first half. We then kept it going throughout the game."
The Bulldogs improved to 11-10 overall and 4-2 in the River-to-River Ohio Division to sit in third place behind Massac County and Herrin, which are tied for the conference lead at 5-1. Murphysboro is fourth at 3-3 followed by Benton (1-5) and West Frankfort (0-6).
"We're playing pretty well," Fehrenbacher said. "We held control of the game all the way through. We haven't really had that this year. This is a big week for us against some tough competition. We feel we can step up and play with all teams. In fact, we feel we can play with just about anybody right now."
Harrisburg has a busy week with three road games against Hardin County (5-15) Tuesday, Massac County (20-4) Friday and Olney Richland County (16-4) Saturday afternoon at the Benton Shootout starting at noon.
"We want to keep it business as usual this week," Fehrenbacher said. "Massac County got us earlier in the year, but we're playing better and I'm looking forward to that game. Olney is a 3A team that won the Pinckneyville holiday tournament; the Lawrenceville Thanksgiving Tournament and last week got beat in their conference tournament championship game."
Myles Crank, Ross Rider, Charlie Fehrenbacher, Nate Lawrence and Andrew Unthank were honored on the traditional evening.
"It was our Senior Night even though we have one more home game in two weeks against Murphysboro but that is on a Saturday afternoon and we wanted to do on a Friday night," Fehrenbacher said. "We started those five and held Frankfort scoreless for the first five minutes."
Ande finished with a season-high 12 two-point baskets to go with five 3-pointers. The guard also was 1-of-1 from the free throw line.
The Bulldogs withstood a Red Bird rally to lead 10-6 lead after the first quarter. Ande had two baskets with Fehrenbacher, Lawrence and Unthank scoring one basket each.
"We had a really good start and then obviously Cam, who normally would have started, came off the bench and had a career night," Fehrenbacher said.
Harrisburg came out of the break and broke the Red Birds back scoring 29 points and holding West Frankfort to just 10 points to take a 39-16 lead into the half.
"A lot of our scoring came for our defense," Fehrenbacher said. "We were switching defenses and had them confused. We generated a lot of turnovers and got a lot of steals that turned into a lot of fast break points."
Ande put the game out of reach with 20 points in the second quarter on five short baskets, three 3-pointers and a free throw to complete another three-point play. Crank added seven points, including a 3-pointer, with Fehrenbacher scoring the other two points on free throws.
West Frankfort made a run in the third quarter cutting the lead by four points out-scoring Harrisburg 12-8 with Ande scoring all eight points starting with a The Bulldogs closed out the game out-scoring the Red Birds 22-15 with Ande finishing with four shorter baskets. Lawrence, who hadn't scored since the first quarter also finished strong with seven points to finish with nine as did Crank who added a fourth quarter basket. Unthank scored five points to finish with seven points.