CARLISLE - Other than being without electricity since Christmas, the Harmony Grove Cardinals were hit with another big blow when they fell hard to England on Friday, 80-52 in the Carlisle Holiday Classic. But despite not practicing and suffering one of the biggest losses in 2012, the Cardinals returned to Carlisle on Saturday and got back to their old ways of winning. After a hard and intense practice session just hours before getting on the bus, the Cardinals took care of business, beating DeWitt in a 57-27 rout of their own.
“We played a lot better and a lot more aggressive than we did on Friday,” Head Coach Dexter Hendrix said. “We had a good practice before we went and I thought that helped us get our minds right, especially after coming off of a break.”
The Cardinals played yet another sloppy first half on Saturday, scoring just 23 in the first 16 minutes. DeWitt kept the game close early on, trailing by 10 at 23-13 at halftime.
“We played an ugly first half and missed a lot of easy shots,” Hendrix said. “We missed a lot of layups and instead of our guys going up and scoring, we did a lot of double clutching.”
But it was the second half when Harmony Grove began to show the talent and dominance that they have. With shots falling and the defense holding its own, the Cardinals pounded DeWitt to take a 30-point win.
“One of the big things that we talked about was our size and taking advantage of that inside with the basketball,” Hendrix said. “I thought we really did a good job with that on Saturday.”
Hendrix also said that his team did a lot better job of getting to the boards and rebounding the basketball aggressively.
“When we do that we play a lot better,” Hendrix said.”
Guard Drake Wilks and forward Mitch Scoggins paced the Cardinals to victory, scoring 14 each. The two also brought down a combined 16 rebounds. Jack Scoggins added 10 points and six boards while big man Hayden Burchfield tallied eight points, eight boards and six blocks in the win.
“Jake put together probably his best performance of the year,” Hendrix said. “DeWitt was a lot smaller than we were and Burchfield has put the ball on the floor a lot this season, giving those small guards a chance at stealing the ball. He played well and went to the boards hard on Saturday.”
With the win, the Cardinals move to 8-5 overall on the year. Harmony Grove returns home for an intense conference match against Jessieville on Friday.
“I felt a lot better after Saturday, but we still have a lot to do to get ready for Jessieville,” Hendrix said. “That is the game that really counts when we get back into conference.”
The Lions beat Harmony Grove in the finals of the Bill Gibbs Memorial Tournament earlier this season by two points.
Opening tip is set for 7:30 p.m.