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Cougars upset Cowden-Herrick, but fall to Altamont

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By Andrew Harner

ST. ELMO – Senior Fischer Tharp picked apart Cowden-Herrick’s defense to lead South Central to an upset win in the first round of the St. Elmo Holiday Tournament.

Scoring a game-high 32 points last Wednesday, Tharp led the sixth-seeded Cougars to a 52-48 victory against No. 3 Cowden-Herrick.

“I’m glad we finished the game, because a lot of times in the past, we would get in close games and lose them,” said coach Rick Simmons. “When you get that first (close) victory, the next time you can say, ‘We did this last time, so let’s do it again.’”

South Central led for all but two possessions of the game, and held just a one-point lead with 2:05 left in the game. Tharp then scored his final basket and senior Rudy Hablewitz made three free throws to help secure the victory.

Tharp’s output marked the second time this season he has scored more than 30 points in a game, as he had a career-high 41 earlier in the year..

“I watched the game just like you, and I didn’t know he had 32 points,” Simmons said. “I knew we got the ball to him in good spots, and he scored a lot of points.

“He just does that.”

Late in the game, however, Cowden-Herrick got tired of seeing it.

The Hornets opted to double-team Tharp and senior Rudy Hablewitz on defense any time they were close to the basket, creating several long possessions for the Cougars.

On the first couple of possessions against that defensive look, the South Central players who were left wide open on the outside took the shots, but Simmons quickly ended that.

“I hate to tell kids that there is a reason why they are standing there wide open, but there was” Simmons said. “Our mindset is finding what it takes to win, and then get it done.”

Eventually South Central’s patience paid off with the upset victory

Box score
Wednesday, Dec. 12
First round
South Central 52
Cowden-Herrick 48
S: 12-17-10-13—52
C: 10-16-8-14—48
Points: Tharp, 32; Hablewitz, 10; Austin Schwarm, 5; Noah Powless, 2; Chase Riley, 2; Brett Harmeier, 1.
Rebounds: Tharp, 11; Hablewitz, 5; Joel Rose, 4; Schwarm, 4; Powless, 3; Team, 3; Harmeier, 1.
Assists: Schwarm, 4; Hablewitz, 2; Rose, 2; Harmeier, 1; Powless, 1; Tharp, 1.
Steals: Hablewitz, 1; Powless, 1; Schwarm, 1; Tharp, 1.
Blocks: Hablewitz, 2.
Record: 2-3

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The Cougars were not able to pull off a second upset last Friday, however, as Altamont held South Central to zero second-quarter points in a 66-33 win that advanced to the Indians to the title game.

Senior Rudy Hablewitz led the way for the Cougars with 12 points, and senior Fischer Tharp had 10.

Freshman Brett Harmeier had a career-high four points for South Central (2-4).

Box score
Friday, Dec. 14
Championship semifinals
Altamont 66
South Central 33
S: 10-0-7-16—33
A: 17-16-16-17—66
Points: Hablewitz, 12; Tharp, 10; Austin Schwarm, 6; Harmeier, 4; Chase Riley, 1.
Record: 2-4