Harrison Central controls Bellaire

FLYING HIGH — Harrison Central’s Caden Arbaugh goes for a layup past Bellaire’s Mason Ramsay on Wednesday. (Photo by Andrew Grimm)

CADIZ — Trailing by five points at halftime, the Harrison Central boys basketball team got a quick pep talk at the break from coach Justin Clifford and responded with a big second half to defeat Bellaire for a second time this season, 86-70, Wednesday night inside the John. W. Stephenson Center.

“It was not pretty early,” Clifford said. “There are no excuses; they just came out and played harder than we did. In the second half we came out with a little bit more want to and got after it a little bit.

“It was just a little bit of a pep talk. It was quick in and out, but they came out and got the job done.”

The Big Reds (3-10) held a 41-36 lead after two quarters, but the Huskies took it back on back-to-back 3-pointers from Kobe Mitchell, turning a 50-49 deficit into a 55-50 lead with 2:55 to go in the third quarter. Harrison Central never looked back from there.

Mitchell, a freshman, finished with a game-high 32 points, including six shots from beyond the arc.

“He’s a pretty good player,” Clifford said. “Any time you can have a freshman scoring 30-plus points, it really helps your cause.”

Harrison Central got off to a good start, pulling away to lead by six after an early 5-5 tie, but led by just one after eight minutes after Bellaire started to get on a roll to pull back into it. Mitchell scored 17 points in the first quarter.

“It was just about concentrating and following through,” Mitchell said of the 3-pointers. “The team was moving the ball, and when the team moves the ball it goes in.”

The Big Reds took the lead on the first shot of the second and built on it for the advantage at the break, but the Huskies came out of the locker room ready to go and took over from there.

“We kind of lost focus in the second quarter and weren’t playing our game,” Mitchell said. “(Coach Clifford) gave us a pep talk. We played really well, but we can always do better. There’s always room to improve.”

Harrison Central out-scored Bellaire 50-29 in the final two quarters.

“I know we scored 86, but I think we won it on the defensive side,” Clifford said. “We gave up too many points in the first half, and we weren’t near anybody. In the second half we made them make a couple of extra passes, and I thought that was the difference on top of being able to score.

“We are averaging about 80 points a game and people ask ‘How are you scoring?’ I think it has a lot to do with the defense as much as guys making shots.”

The Huskies also got 13 points and a team-high six assists from Caden Dalton. Caden Arbaugh also recorded 13 points along with five boards and two assists. Evan Stine scored 10 points, had a game-high six rebounds and four assists.

Bellaire got 23 points each from Mason Ramsay and Chase Yoho.

“We have trouble sustaining stops,” Bellaire coach Ben Doyle said. “We can’t string together the stops that we need and they can score.”

The next game for both teamss is against Martins Ferry. Harrison Central plays the Purple Riders on the road Friday, while Bellaire hosts them on Tuesday.

Game notes:

¯Harrison Central also won the jayvee contest, 51-36. The Huskies were led by nine points from Gavin Muckle, while Bellaire got a game-high 14 from Payton Marline.

Harrison Central 86, Bellaire 70

Bellaire 22-19-15-14 — 70

Harrison Central 23-13-26-24 — 86

BELLAIRE (3-10): Ramsay 10 2-2 23; Yoho 7 8-8 23; Marthaler 4 1-1 9; McCarthy 0 0-0 0; Runyan 4 0-0 10; Rejonis 1 0-0 2; Maupin 1 0-0 3; Marling 0 0-0 0; Zwack 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 27, 11-11, 70.

HARRISON CENTRAL (6-4): Arbaugh 5 3-5 13; Hursey 4 0-2 8; Dalton 5 2-6 13; Stine 3 4-4 10; Mitchell 10 6-6 32; Caldwell 3 0-0 6; West 1 2-2 4; Elliott 0 0-0 0; Mucille 0 0-0 0; Taylor 0 0-0 0; McAfee 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 31, 17-25, 86.

3-POINT GOALS: Bellaire 5 (Runyan 2, Ramsay, Yoho, Maupin); Harrison Central 7 (Mitchell 6, Dalton). REBOUNDS: Bellaire 23 (Yoho 6); Harrison Central 21 (Stine 6). ASSISTS: Bellaire 21 (Rejonis 8); Harrison Central 24 (Dalton 6).