by Brian Turrel
The Harmon Hawks extended their breakout 2018-2019 season, defeating the Shawnee Mission North Indians 54-44 at Harmon on Wednesday night in the semi-finals of their 6A substate bracket.
Harmon opened an early lead on North, using their speed to create driving opportunities for Marlon Bowens, who picked up 7 points in the quarter. The Hawks finished the first quarter up 14-6.
The Indians stepped up their perimeter defense in the second quarter, frustrating the Hawks’ attempts to infiltrate the lane. Harmon’s guards stuck to the game plan, passing patiently around the perimeter to find the few available openings.
The pace of the game slowed, with Harmon posting only 8 points in the quarter, and they finished the half with a 22-15 advantage.
After the break, Harmon looked for some opportunities outside. Santos Ruiz hit two 3-pointers, and Lonell Lane added another, to put Harmon ahead 35-25 after three quarters.
In the fourth quarter, North applied a trapping full-court press that caused the Hawks some ball-handling problems. Harmon turnovers let the Indians pull within 5 near the midpoint of the quarter.
North also pushed aggressively on offense, getting 13 opportunities at the foul line and putting key Harmon players into foul trouble. Lane was pulled from the game briefly after picking up his fourth foul with 4 minutes remaining, and Chauncey Keys fouled out just after the 2-minute mark.
North’s trapping defense came with a downside. When Harmon broke the trap, they had plenty of open floor for long outlet passes and runouts. Lane scored on two fast-break windmill dunks in the closing minutes that brought the home fans to their feet.
Lane finished the game with 22 points to lead the Hawks. Bowens scored 13, getting significant minutes off the bench. Santos Ruiz pitched in 11 points.
Harmon’s substate win builds on their already successful season, in which they compiled a 16-3 record and tied with Washington for the Kansas City – Atchison League title, Harmon’s first in over 30 years.
Harmon will play at home against Shawnee Mission East on Friday night at 7 p.m. for the substate championship and a berth in the KSHSAA 6A state tournament in Wichita next weekend.
Other substate playoff results:
Wyandotte 76, Olathe Northwest 71 (play-in)
Blue Valley Northwest 78, Wyandotte 37 (first round)
Blue Valley West 66,Harmon 12
Shawnee Mission North 47, Wyandotte 27
Sumner 75,Turner 56 (play-in)
Topeka West 54, Turner 19
Schlagle 60,Bonner Springs 32
Sumner 54, Basehor-Linwood 48
Piper 69, Paola 34
Santa Fe Trail 82, Bishop Ward 64
Bishop Ward 47, Silver Lake 21