With area scoring leader John Vislisel involved in the offense, it’s difficult for Harvest Christian not to lean heavily his way for point production.
The Lions, however, are discovering more threats than they knew they had and it’s a major reason they ran their winning streak to five straight Saturday with a 61-50 nonconference victory at Elgin Academy.
“We’ve been talking about being unselfish and getting the ball in everybody’s hands because it gets the defense spread out that way and we can attack the basket more,” the 6-7 Vislisel said.
Even with starter Jake Adams and sixth man Riley Steiner out of the lineup, the Lions (7-7) had other options after they managed to get the ball to Vislisel. And Vislisel didn’t disappoint when he had it, scoring a game-high 28 points and hauling in 11 rebounds.
But Brett Cramer contributed 14 points, including 4-of-4 on three-point shots, and surprised even coach Jeff Boldog. He made a trey for a 12-point lead with three minutes left in the third quarter, then buried one starting the fourth for a 13-point edge the Hilltoppers could never seriously challenge.
“He’s streaky,” Boldog said. “If he’s feeling it, he can knock it down. Normally his thing is the mid-range jumper but tonight I told him we needed someone else to contribute and he did in a big way.”
Noah Fox followed a 27-point effort in a win Friday over Alden-Hebron with a 17-point night Saturday. Balance was the key early when the Lions charged out to a 14-6 first-quarter lead behind six points from Cramer, five by Vislisel and four by Fox. Two Vislisel free throws and four points from Fox early in the second let Harvest pull ahead 21-8.
Elgin Academy made its run behind Dietrich Robinson in the second quarter, when he had 10 of his team-high 26 points. The Hilltoppers drew within 22-20, but the Lions relied again on a big height advantage with Vislisel and 6-6 Dan Turpin to score six straight points.
Vislisel hit a three-pointer in the third quarter and finally a four-point play in the fourth for an insurmountable 56-43 lead.
“We knew we were going to be undersized coming in and we had a game plan in place to kind of take their big guys out of it,” Elgin Academy coach Dewayne Robinson said. “We wanted to keep (Vislisel) away from the basket but we had lapses in our rotation that caused us to give up some easy buckets and that’s something we’ll have to correct next time.”
Elgin Academy (2-6) lost its fifth straight and had eight points from Ian Wilson, but couldn’t get Dietrich Robinson much help.
“We need some others to step up and be threat,” Dewayne Robinson said.