DENISON, Iowa — Even if a shooter is missing, his mentality is to keep putting it up and one will finally go in.
That was the case for Harlan Friday night as it shook off a 1-of-13 first half from 3-point range to knock down four key second-half treys in the Cyclones’ 51-43 Class 3-A, District 16 final boys basketball victory over Carroll.
Adam Juhl, who had 11 points, hit two of those 3s in the third quarter to knock the lid off the hoop and help Harlan take the lead back from the Tigers (18-4) and stretch it out as well.
“We knew that we are a good enough shooting team that we just had to keep shooting,” Juhl said. “They finally started to fall after half and we just had to keep working the ball inside-out.”
Cyclone coach Mitch Osborn said he told his team that there will be a tournament game where the shots do not fall and his team did a great job of fighting through it against a Carroll team it defeated 70-51 just eight days before.
“We talked about it before we started the tournament trail that there will be a game where you have to grind and that was definitely a grinder,” Osborn said. “That was a different team than we saw in Carroll last week, and we found a way to win.”
Carroll took a 22-20 lead into the break when Eli Cleveland scored with eight seconds left in the half and the Cyclones were unable to answer. Trey Lansman kept Harlan in it in the first half, scoring 15 of the 20 points for the Cyclones as a part of a night when he registered 18 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks.
“We really struggled shooting, but at half, I was happy because we played a great half of defense,” Osborn said. “Trey was tremendous defensively and kept us in it when we had nothing going offensively.”
Carroll coach Chris Molinsky said the Tigers had to pick their poison as to how they were going to defend the Cyclones.
“Their M.O. is to throw the ball inside and kick it out to shooters, and we closed out well in the first half,” Tiger coach said. “They knocked some down after half and their maturity showed on how they executed their adjustments.”
After Carroll scored on its first possession of the final quarter, Nathan Cave scored five of his 12 points to put Harlan up eight. The Tigers got no closer than five the rest of the way as the Cyclones hit 14 of 20 from the charity stripe.
Harlan will advance to a substate final matchup with second-ranked Atlantic, which defeated Creston Friday, but the Cyclones have led late in the fourth quarter of two regular-season losses.
“We know it will be a big challenge,” Osborn said. “And we have been right there in games that have come down to the last possession in the first two games.”
Harlan (17-6) ................. 15 5 15 16—51
At Carroll (18-4) ................. 11 11 8 13—43
H: Adam Juhl 11, Gabe Ferry 9, Trey Lansman 18, Kyle Juhl 1, Nathan Cave 12.
C: Luke Vonnahme 12, Addison Ross 5, Eli Cleveland 11, Jarret White 1, Cody Netusil 11, Kacy Snyder 3.