Last Tuesday, Muncie Central senior guard Daniel Harris sank a game-winning shot against Pendleton Heights (6-15, 0-7 HHC).
Last night, he did it again as he sank a 3-pointer to defeat the Yorktown Tigers 41-38. Following the game, one Muncie Central fan said that the team should only play on Tuesdays.
The two Delaware County teams started out hot on defense. The first few minutes of the first quarter only saw a few baskets from both contestants. Bearcats (13-7, 5-3 NC) head coach Justin Ullom said that he was impressed with his squad's defense.
“Defense is where we hang it,” Ullom said. “These guys have bought into it. We hang our team and our pride on the defensive end and you know, they've got some really good players. We were able to at least contain [Yorktown senior guard Aj] Dunn enough in the second half, but I thought our defense overall was pretty good.”
During the second quarter, only one Bearcat scored. After the game, Harris was unaware that he scored all eleven points and finished the half with 15.
“I didn’t realize that,” he said. “My teammates put me in a spot where I could just knock down shots.”
Ullom was not surprised by Harris’s first-half performance.
“He's not selfish,” he said. “He's not going to get mad if we're not going to him. I need him to be a little more vocal to me when he wants the ball. But you know, we’re 17, 18, 19 games in the season. We know better to get him the ball.”
After halftime, the Tigers (14-6, 4-3 HHC) offense found their footing, going into the final quarter with a two-point lead. They led by one possession until the two-minute mark. Once they reached a lead with six points, they called a timeout.
During the Tigers’ timeout, Ullom said that his team was focused on hitting shots. Following that timeout, senior guard Josiah Ullom hit a 3-pointer to cut into their opponent’s lead.
But Yorktown did not panic. Dunn drove down the court and hit a layup. With fifteen seconds left, Harris returned the favor and completed a deep ball to tie the game.
Harris credits his and Ullom’s 3-point success to the way they practice.
“You know, I practice that shot,” he said. “Josiah practices it as well. We have competitions in practice and we practice those a lot.”
After the Tigers got the ball, it was knocked out of bounds by Muncie Central. But they were prepared for Yorktown's inbound pass. Once the ball passed half-court, it was tipped by a Bearcat and recovered. Ullum called a timeout with 1.2 seconds remaining.
“Everybody's gonna remember Daniel’s shot but we had three players tip the basketball in the last ten seconds of the game,” Ullom said. “And one of them led to the steal. Great hustle by [junior forward] Demarkis Cole to chase that one down and get it and we were lucky to have a timeout left.”
Ullom admitted that the plan was to give Harris the final shot.
“With 1.2 seconds, it was a ‘we're gonna screen for Daniel and he's either gonna go back screen to the basket or we set a screen and get him for three.’”
Harris led the team with 25 points. For Yorktown, Dunn finished with 13.
The Bearcats will try to stay in the win column as they face McCutcheon (6-14, 1-7 NC) at home on Friday. The Tigers will attempt to get back in the win column as they stay at home to take on Wapahani (18-1, 7-0 ME) on Saturday.