Sam King, firstname.lastname@example.org:14 a.m. EST January 3, 2015
A family situation brought Isaiah Carpenter 600 miles north from Atlanta and dropped a 6-foot-7 senior basketball player right on the Harrison program’s lap.
Coach Mark Rinehart sent warnings to his veteran roster that landing the talented transfer didn’t necessarily mean instant success.
“We talked at the beginning of the year that we might get worse for awhile,” Rinehart said. “You add a new component and he got here in October, we didn’t even play pickup together. In addition to us trying to play faster than we have in the past, you’re adding a completely new element.”
On Friday night, Carpenter’s presence was pivotal in Harrison’s 57-35 win over Western Boone at May Gymnasium.
In a season-opening win over North Montgomery, Carpenter provided 20 points and eight rebounds and looked like the solidifying piece for a Harrison team full of shooters.
But results have varied so far, much like Rinehart thought they may. Friday night may have been a turning point.
The Stars attacked Carpenter early and he responded by swatting their first shot away but quickly picked up two fouls before retreating to the bench. He would pick up just one foul the rest of the night, a technical for hanging on the rim after throwing down a monster dunk.
“It took some getting used to. We hadn’t played with someone of his height,” Harrison senior Jake Fernung said. “We’re obviously a lot better with him out there and we are getting used it.”
The Raiders were not proficient offensively, but made timely 3-pointers before their defense shut down Western Boone’s one-dimensional offense.
Riggs Baxter scored 16 first-half points for the Stars (3-5), but was held to just 23 on the night. His jumper with 3:21 to go accounted for Western Boone’s only points in the fourth quarter.
Baxter was one of just three Western Boone players to score as the Stars were held to 12 of 43 shooting.
“Riggs is a good player and our game plan was to try to force him to make those 12- to 14-foot jump shots. He did, but as the game went on, he didn’t get to the rim nearly as much,” Rinehart said.
Carpenter finished 8 of 10 from the field for 16 points, Dominic Trapp scored all 10 of his points in the second half and Cade Renicker finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and four assists for Harrison (5-3), which won consecutive games for the first time this season.
Carpenter said he’s starting to find his comfort zone, too, and Harrison’s abundance of shooters plays into his strengths as a passer from the post.
“My team in Georgia, we don’t have any shooters like this team,” Carpenter said. “It opens some things up for me.”