LEWISBURG — The last five games have been like a roller coaster ride for National Trail’s boys’ basketball team.
One night they shoot the ball as if the basket is as wide as the Grand Canyon and can’t miss. The next night, they seem as if they couldn’t throw the ball into the ocean even if they were on a boat in the middle of the ocean.
On Friday, against county rival Tri-County North, it was one of those nights where the Blazers couldn’t miss.
Trail knocked down a school-record 14 3-pointers en route to an 83-55 win.
“I don’t trust anything right now. They are still regaining my trust,” Trail coach Mike Harrison, whose team made 14-of-24 shots from behind the arc, said. “If I could explain it we wouldn’t have had Friday and Tuesday.”
Harrison’s reference is to the way his team has shot the basketball over the course of the past five games. His team shot poorly in losses to Arcanum and Twin Valley South.
“The last five games we’ve made 13 3’s. Then we shot 5-for-33. Then we made 13 3’s. Then we shot 3-for-24. Then we make 14 3’s tonight,” he said.
It didn’t take long Friday for Trail, who made 31-of-54 shots for the game, to gain the upper hand.
They made 7-of-14 shots in the first quarter and led by as many as 12 (22-10), before North rallied to make it a 22-17 game after the first eight minutes.
The Blazers extended their lead in the second quarter as they made 7-of-10 shots from 3-point range to take a 47-30 lead at the half.
Any hopes of a North comeback were dashed in the third quarter.
Trail was 10-of-13 from the field and pushed its lead to 69-42 after three.
“When we’re good, I think we can be really good. This is a very good win. North is a solid team and I thought we played extremely well on both ends,” Harrison said. “They’ve got things that cause you trouble at the defensive end and we limited that.
The veteran coach said his team is going to be hard to beat if they continue to shoot like they did against North.
“When we shoot well we’re really good. We’ve got to develop more consistency to where when you’re not shooting lights out you’ve got to find other ways. Really good teams find other ways. They find ways to win when their ‘A’ game isn’t there. And that’s where we’re at right now,” he said. “The kids are doing a good job. They’ve had a good start to the year. I’m real pleased tonight.”
Senior Travis Hunt led five Blazers in double figures. He scored a game-high 20 points with 12 coming in the decisive third quarter.
Sophomore Cameron Harrison scored 19, 17 of which came in the first half.
Junior Zach Woodall tallied 16.
Seniors Evynn Short and Adam Eyler contributed 12 and 11 points respectively.
“We were diverse enough tonight. You can’t rely on a couple of guys like we were earlier,” Coach Harrison said. “When we’ve got multiple guys knocking down shots it’s hard for anybody to guard us.”
For North, it was a frustrating night.
“Holy cow,” North coach Joe Smith said. “That’s hard to beat. I don’t know if they missed a three in the first half or at least it felt like it. We played four different defenses and none of them worked.”
Trail was 10-of-16 on 3’s in the first half.
Despite his team’s record, Smith feels as if the three Preble County teams in the Cross County Conference are solid.
“I know our record doesn’t look like it right now, but I think the three CCC schools are tough. Unfortunately, we’ve lost to the other two,” he said. “We played a South team that played great last week. Give Mike credit and his boys, they came out with a purpose (tonight). That’s a talented team.”
For the game, North was 24-of-58 from the field, but was 2-for-16 from 3-point range and only committed 11 turnovers.
Senior Preston Jackson led the Panthers with 18 points. Sophomore Dylan Stinson had 18 and senior Preston Lairson chipped in with nine.
On Saturday, North bounced back with 76-69 win over Carlisle.
“We had a great shooting night connecting on 12 3-pointers,” Smith said.
Dylan Stinson had 29 points, 17 in the first half. He also had 10 rebounds. Brian Stinson had 18 points and seven assists, while Lairson chipped in with 15. Phil Lockwood contributed 9.
“Brian did a great job controlling the court. Carlisle tried to trap him and he was able to take control and avoid trouble,” Smith said.
Trail (6-2) is scheduled to play at Dixie on Friday, Dec. 28.
North will meet Twin Valley South in the first round of the Preble Shawnee Holiday Tournament, also on Dec. 28, at 7:30 p.m.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH