MECCA – Will Harmon put a comma in his career scoring total, and joined an exclusive fraternity as he helped lead Fountain Central to a 69-31 boys basketball win over Riverton Parke.
The senior, with a three pointer, a two pointer and a free throw in the first 49 seconds of the contest, reached 1,000 points for his career, becoming only the 10th boys hoopster in FC history to attain that plateau.
Finishing with 21 points, he actually moved into ninth place, and the climb up the all-time scoring list can get close to the head of the list with a continued good season, as he is averaging 20 points a game so far.
“It’s something I have thought about my whole life,” Harmon said. “Since I was 9-years old, I’ve been thinking about becoming a thousand-point scorer. “This is just the best feeling in the world, and proves to me that all the hard work was worth it. Now, though, we put it behind us and we head for the goal of winning a state championship in the spring.”
Harmon’s first thoughts, however, were thanks to his parents, Chera Bowling and Willard Harmon.
“They have been so supportive every step of the way,” he said. “They pushed, they helped, they watched, they were always there. My teammates are also such a big part of this accomplishment. They got me the ball, and they and the coaches trusted my shot.”
Mustangs coach Greg Dean echoed those thoughts.
“What an accomplishment,” he said. “Indiana high school basketball is so important to so many of us, and to be part of a historical moment is great for Will, and great for our team. I’m happy for him, his family and for our basketball family. We are proud of him.”
With that, however, player and coach were all business about the game, which had the Mustangs set a brutal tone defensively and roll to the win, moving them to 2-1 on the season and 1-0 as the WRC gets into action. The Panthers fall to 2-3 with the loss, and it is their first conference game as well.
After Harmon’s fast six to start things out, FC used three first-quarter buckets by Isaac Gayler and Owen Acton each to rush to a 24-8 first-quarter advantage.
The Mustangs defensively threw a towel over the Panthers, holding them without a point for better than nine minutes from the first into the second quarters, scoring 24 points in that stretch.
“I think we had 16 straight stops,” Dean said of his defenders. “We hang our hat on our defense. The guys have bought into it, and they work their tails off defensively. We are going to continue to try and get better offensively, but we will never stop working defensively. We did a good job in turning Riverton Parke over tonight. Brayden Prickett and Koby Wolf were fantastic against their guards all night.”
That pressure forced 21 RP turnovers, and the offense generated 37 whopping points from those miscues.
Harmon’s 21 wasn’t even team-best. Isaac Gayler simply would not miss, as the senior was 12-of-16 from the floor and finished with 29 points.
He had three offensive rebounds, with two put-backs, and Owen Acton grabbed four offensive boards and had his own pair of put-backs to finish with 10. The visitors were plus-15 in second-chance points.
“Ike (Gayler) did some things early,” Dean said. “Those offensive boards and a couple steals were a real spark. Owen (Acton) just did a great job defending and rebounding. We haven’t done a good enough job rebounding the first couple weeks, but tonight was different.”
The Mustangs finished with a 30-19 rebound advantage. Gayler’s six was game-high, with Acton and Harmon each grabbing five. They were 29-of-52 from the field and 6-of-11 from long range. They finished with 42 points in the paint, showing how close a lot of shots were.
The Panthers were led in scoring by Pierson Robins. The senior had 13. His squad found the shooting not nearly as warm as the temps in the gym, as they were only 13-of-33 from the field, and hit only one three-pointer.
“We are getting the football guys into basketball shape,” Dean said. “We rebounded better, we took better care of the ball and we got better shots. We are working on getting more guys involved and even with a veteran team, we have guys in new roles. We are till trying to figure a lot of stuff out, and how to get all that done. It’s all about getting a little better every day.”
That effort continues for the Mustangs, as they travel to Western Boone next Friday. They have Crawfordsville (January) and Southmont (February) on the schedule.
The Panthers are at Dugger Union next week and have the Mounties for a January home game.
Riverton Parke won the JV game 36-31.