Despite an aggressive game and a close score throughout, the Huskies fell last night to the Byram Hills Bobcats, 58-46.
The game started out evenly as the first quarter ended tied at 14. Both teams made their strategies apparent early. The Bobcats made their living beyond the arch and the Huskies wanted to work the ball inside to Dennis Rinaldi and get the Bobcats into early foul trouble.
In the second quarter the Bobcats were able to increase their lead with the sharp shooting of Andy Murphy. Murphy hit on three 3 pointers in the first half. The Bobcats only scored 10 points in the second quarter but it was good enough to outscore Harrison's 7.
After half time the Huskies made some adjustments to their lineup giving players like Michael Jacobson and Charlie Crendendino more time. The tandem of Crendendino along with Rinaldi gave Harrison a formidable rebounding duo to control the paint.
"Charlie did a great job on the glass for us." Rinaldi said of the freshman, "He's going to be a great player soon enough."
With the paint locked up, the Bobcats looked to use the speed of their guards and move the ball in transition to get out in front of the Huskies. This strategy led to the emergence of the Bobcats freshman and leading scorer Jeff Lynch.
Lynch scored 21 of his game high 28 points in the second half and he led the Bobcats up tempo offense with his tenacious defense and stellar transition play.
"He's a special player, we really put a lot of pressure on him," Byram Hills Head Coach Ted Repa said of his freshmen. "We expect a lot of him and he always seems to step it up when it counts most."
Notably missing from Harrison's forth quarter was starting point guard Matt Pipitone. Pipitone is undoubtedly the teams best ball handler and his absence was definitely felt in the fourth quarter as the Husky guards had trouble with the Bobcat's pressure.
Harrison lost the battle with Byram Hills at the foul line. The Bobcats made all 14 of their free throws as the Huskies went only 8 for 15 failing to capitalize on several key opportunities late in the game.
"They are a great team," Repa stated of the Huskies, "The last thing I wanted to see was us play Harrison again. We just made our free throws and they didn't."
Though Harrison kept the score close the entire game and even tied it once in the final minutes the Byram Hills shooting attack turned out to be too much.
Byram Hills will continue their season on Friday night at Spring Valley.
"We only have three seniors and because of that we were able to form a tight bond with them," Repa said of his seniors. "Jesse Frankel is the heart and sole of the team and even though Rinaldi hurt us on the boards Jesse did a great job for us. These three have done this in the true sense of the word team, I couldn't be more proud of them."
The Huskies started the season off on fire at 7-1 but with the loss to Byram Hills, Harrison ends the season with a disappointing six game slide, finishing with a record of 10-9. Toward the end of the season the Huskies suffered from streaky guard play and inconsistent substitution patterns making it difficult to establish any type of offensive rhythm.
Rinaldi ended the game with a team high 19 points and Credendino and Brendan O'Shea added seven points in the loosing effort.
The Harrison team is graduating six players and will have a hard time replacing core players such as Dennis Rinaldi, Jared Hodes, and Matt Pipitone.
Harrison head coach Gary Chiarella declined to comment after the game.