Hardin-Central Coach Kirk Thacker had been waiting a long time to walk off the court with a win over long-time rival Orrick. Thanks to an offense that cut down on its turnovers and clutch free throw shooting, that’s exactly what happened Friday night as the Bulldogs topped Orrick 59-48.
Thacker was an assistant on the last Hardin-Central team to defeat Orrick, a one-point nail-biter, 70-69 back on Jan. 16, 2001 – a span of 14 meetings. One of those 14 straight losses came last week at the Wellington-Napoleon Tournament when the Bulldogs committed multiple turnovers down the stretch in a 60-48 setback.
“The distance between this game and last week’s game was that we played our game and not theirs,” Thacker said. “We didn’t let their pressure bother us and we took care of the ball. We knew they could score inside so we packed our defense in and took away their driving areas.”
Thacker added he was going to force the Bearcats to beat them from the outside. The Bulldogs committed just 11 turnovers on Friday after giving the ball back to Orrick 35 times in last week’s game.
“Coach Thacker had his Bulldogs ready to play,” Orrick Coach Morgan Dickson said. “They came out and beat us. We didn’t play with enough intensity, and again had trouble making shots. We also allowed too many easy buckets.”
Guiding the offense for Hardin-Central was Patrick King who hit for 25 points with 4 rebounds, 4 assists, a pair of blocked shots and 3 steals. The Bulldog senior kept Orrick at arm’s length down the stretch as he scored the final 10 points of the night by hitting 8 of 10 free throws.
Daniel Carpenter added 11 points for Hardin-Central in addition to his 7 rebounds, 5 steals and 4 assists.
The Bulldogs held a 13-12 lead after the opening 8 minutes, but Orrick came back to take its only lead early in the second quarter on Nick Laffery’s bucket. Hardin-Central answered with a 10-0 run and never trailed the rest of the night. The Bulldogs held a 25-16 advantage at the break and opened up their biggest lead – 17 points – midway through the third quarter. Hardin-Central led 44-26 entering the fourth period.
Chris Wilson added 9 points for the Bulldogs with Chris Herring adding 8, and Mark Carpenter chipped in with 6 points.
Mark Carpenter and Wilson grabbed 5 rebounds apiece.
Dakota Harth led the Orrick scoring with 9 points. Clayton Jones and Cam McGlothlin added 8 each, with Luke Searcy hitting for 5.
Hardin-Central improves to 7-10, while Orrick falls to 4-8.
Photo: Hardin-Central’s Patrick King (14) had trouble with the Orrick defense on this play, but ended up with a game-high 25 points in the Bulldogs’ win over the visiting Bearcats. (Photo by Russ Green/The Daily News.)