HEBRON – Identifying Harvard’s problem was simple – the Hornets needed to make more shots.
Hornets guard Fernando Carrera did not seem like the most likely remedy after missing his first seven shots.
“If he gets rolling, he’s good,” Harvard coach Donnie Nolen said. “He’s one who, if he misses a couple, it weighs on him. If he hits a couple quick, then he’s good for the day.”
It took Carrera until the third quarter, but once he hit his first shot, he was unstoppable. The 6-foot senior scored 17 of his game-high 19 points in the second half as the Hornets broke open a close game to beat Alden-Hebron, 58-29, in a nonconference boys basketball game Monday at Tigard Gymnasium.
Carrera hit his first basket, a 3-pointer from the right corner, with 4:30 remaining in the third quarter. It gave the Hornets (1-3) a 28-20 lead and eased some tension. A-H (1-6) had cut the lead to 23-20 just more than a minute earlier.
“It built the team intensity up,” Carrera said. “We had to hit shots. At first they weren’t going down. I didn’t think about it, I just shot and it went in. I shot again, and they kept going in.”
Carrera had two tip-ins after his 3, then hit two more 3s in the third quarter. He added another 3 in the fourth quarter.
“You see balls going through the hoop and it boosts everybody’s confidence,” Hornets guard Justin Nolen said. “It really helped when Fern started hitting some shots, then our layups started falling. They were rattling around the rim in the first half.”
Harvard swarmed all over the Giants with its 2-2-1 full-court pressure, forcing 26 turnovers, with 16 in the first half.
“We have some quick guys and they anticipate well,” Donnie Nolen said. “It’s just getting it to game speed. We’ve practiced against our sophomores, but until we face varsity teams, it’s going to be different. As soon as the point guard got the ball back, we’d put the pressure on. [Former Marengo coach] Bill Barry used to do it against me when I played, so I thought I’d bring it back and see how it works.”
Still, Harvard’s cold shooting (29.6 percent on field goals in the first half) allowed A-H to stay close. Carrera’s hot shooting took care of that.
“It felt good to get my team up,” Carrera said. “We just had to bring the game up.”
Jacob Heaver led the Giants with 10 points, while Cody Nelson added nine and Trevor Ball had eight.
“The effort was there, it was just too many mistakes, so we have to fix them,” A-H coach Tom Duffy said. “We just made too many turnovers and got tentative. One turnover leads to another. It’s never linear, it’s exponential, we went from one to three to nine, and then everybody’s head’s down.”