Another year and the Pacific Indians are making another trip into the winner’s bracket of St. Francis Borgia Regional’s annual Turkey Tournament.
Pacific started off its boys basketball season Wednesday with a 56-46 victory against North Tech (0-1), the No. 7 seed, in the first round of the tournament.
The Indians advance to the semifinals one year after ending up the runner-up to McCluer North in last season’s championship game. Pacific advanced to the winners bracket at the tournament for the fifth time in the past six seasons.
Friday, Pacific takes on Ft. Zumwalt South in the semifinals at 7:30 p.m. That game is preceded by the other championship semifinal between Borgia and Normandy at 6 p.m.
Wednesday’s game was a breakout performance for Pacific sophomore Don’TA Harris. Oftentimes a spark off the bench for Pacific as a freshman last season, Harris led the way for Pacific to open the season with 26 points and 13 rebounds. He was also credited with one steal and one block.
“Don’TA made several free throws down the stretch for us and he played really well,” Pacific Head Coach John VanLeer said. “He rebounded well.”
Harris was the only Pacific player to get into double figures in any statistical category for Pacific on the night.
Mason Fleming had the next highest score for the Indians, netting nine points with one rebound and one assist.
James Iliff notched six points with one rebound and a steal.
Dylan Myers scored five points with two rebounds, three assists and one steal.
Jordan Cowsert put up four points along with six rebounds, three assists and a steal.
Jeremiah Murray and Jacob Sauvage rounded out the scoring with two points apiece.
Sauvage picked up four rebounds with three assists and a blocked shot. Murray pulled down four rebounds with one assist.
Dressel Huston led North Tech in scoring with 15 points.
Isaac Dotson netted 12 points and Michael Neal 11. Other scorers for the Golden Eagles included Nehemiah Anderson with six points and Bryson Fraction with two.
Pacific led 11-9 after one quarter and took a 28-21 halftime after forcing North Tech into the foul bonus in the second quarter and pulling away with free throws. Ten of Pacific’s 16 points in the second period came from the charity stripe.
“In the middle part of that first half we played real well and got a nice little cushion,” VanLeer said. “We turned the ball over a few times late and I told the guys that they were going to come after us because we’ve turned it over and they think they’ve found a weakness.”
Pacific was able to hold off North Tech in the third quarter despite the first seven fouls of the second half going against the Indians, putting North Tech into the bonus early. The Indians held a 37-21 advantage going into the final period.
Pacific cut down on the fouls significantly after that, but still sent the Golden Eagles to the line for nine free throw attempts in the fourth quarter.
North Tech came back to force one lead change midway through the fourth quarter. However, the Golden Eagles’ lead was short-lived as Pacific pushed the ball in to Murray in the low post for an open two to retake the lead.
“That was kind of an ugly play where the ball was all over,” VanLeer said. “We almost turned it over three times, but got a layup out of it. That was a big play in the game.”
Pacific extended the lead on a pair of Dylan Myers’ free throws and the Indians closed it out with two free throws from Murray and multiple trips to the line from Harris in the final minute.“
“We got the lead back and made some free throws down the stretch and it’s a sign, having just one starter back — I’m pretty happy with how we performed,” VanLeer said.
North Tech drops into the consolation semifinals against Union Friday at 4:30 p.m. Washington plays Owensville in the other consolation semifinal at 3 p.m.