By Matt Nestor
The Harlem Huskies came in looking to make a splash this year. But a couple of close losses left Harlem feeling a bit disappointed early in the season.
But the Huskies have quietly strung together a few wins, including a perfect 2-0 over the weekend to start to make a move in the NIC-10 standings.
The weekend started with a 69-64 win for Harlem over Guilford. Michael Proscia scored 18 to help Harlem overcome a fourth-quarter deficit.
The following night, the Huskies (9-13, 4-5) again scored a come-from-behind victory, this time getting 20 from Proscia, as well as another 20 from Tre Wagner, topping Freeport (7-12, 3-8) by a score of 65-60.
“We have to keep playing with intensity,” Harlem Coach Chad Barger said. “Every team goes through a streak where they don’t play well, but we weren’t playing hard. The last couple of games, we’ve really came out and played hard, and guys have stepped up and showed some leadership.”
Against Freeport, Harlem took advantage of Wagner’s quickness in the second half after trailing 32-25 at the half. Wagner attacked the basket, knocking down all three shots he took in the second half, as well as eight free throws.
“We talked about them having a hard time guarding him off the dribble,” Barger said. “We were doing a great job of pounding the ball inside and using our advantage down low. So they had to sink off, which allowed dribble drive lanes. He did a good job of attacking the basket under control.”
The other key for Harlem was limiting Freeport’s Quavion Scott. The sophomore forward scored 17 points and had 11 rebounds, but he did most of his damage in the first half when Harlem fell behind.
“We had to limit his put-backs,” Barger said. “We were able to use our strength a little bit against him in the second half to keep him away from the boards, and that was a key because he hurt us in the first half.”
In other NIC-10 action:
→ Belvidere North (7-9, 5-4) stayed above .500 in conference play, cruising to a 57-41 win over rival Belvidere. Brandon Schwebke scored 24 points to pace the Blue Thunder.
→ The Belvidere Bucs (6-13, 1-9) did finish off a rough week for the Guilford Vikings. The Bucs fell behind by 14 at halftime, but Kane Steger scored 20 points while Bobby Pester scored 16 as the Bucs scored an 81-78 victory over Guilford for their first conference win. Guilford’s Brandon Blankenship led all scorers with 24 points.
→ Jefferson (7-13, 3-7) got 15 points from Dez Agee and 12 points from Mike Chisamore as the J-Hawks knocked off East (12-8, 5-5) by a score of 55-50.