The game rolled along and Mike Harty was content to roll with it. The Seton Catholic senior didn’t have any eyecatching moments — aside from missing a dunk during a dead-ball moment and picking up a technical — and didn’t try to take matters into his own hands.
Harty just seemed to float along and wound up with a game-high 22 points as the Sentinels beat visiting Coolidge 77-64 Tuesday in a 3A South Region game.
"Coach (Hosea) Graham always has really taught me that I can’t really force things, I have to get my teammates involved first," Harty said. "I have to take what’s given to me and my offense will come."
Harty is the focal point of a Sentinels team that has won 10 straight games to improve to 18-3, 7-0 in the 3A South. He averages 21 points a game, but most of those come in the flow of the Sentinels offense.
That offense was running smoothly against the Bears. The Sentinels scored time and again on cuts to the basket, with Jeff Sandell scoring 19 points — most on point-blank shots set up by screens from teammates — and Mike Barlow adding 16.
"We can fast break, but when we don’t have it they are setting it up 50 percent of the time and we are getting layups and we are executing the offense," Graham said. "Where we were when we started the season to where we are now, there is a world of difference."
Harty’s offensive versatility came in handy Tuesday, like it has all season. He scored on post-up moves, drives to the basket and even added two 3-pointers. This season, Harty is shooting 60 percent from the floor, including 47 percent from behind the arc.
"I thought if I could get my game to where I could play all five positions on the court, that would not only help my minutes increase, it would help the team," Harty said of his ability to play any position on the floor. "That would open stuff up for my teammates, maybe they could get some open shots because the defenses would be keying on me."
"He can score. He could have gotten 30 tonight, or 40, but there were times I wanted him to run the offense and he was, he was being patient," Graham said. "That’s the only way we are going to make it to the final four, is if his teammates believe Mike is going to make that pass and they will continue to move and continue to cut. We’ve done that very well this season."
While Seton hit just two 3-pointers, Coolidge (8-12, 2-4) stayed in the game with a barrage of 3-pointers, 13 in all. In the first half, Ken Jackson hit four treys, but cooled off in the second half, finishing with five 3-pointers. The Bears hit eight of 13 3-pointers in the second half, three coming from Dalton Paddock, and trailed by just eight, 68-60, with four minutes left in the game. But Barlow, Harty and Sandell scored on three consecutive trips down the floor to help Seton pull away.
Coolidge’s lone inside threat was Brad Jackson, who scored 15 points. Paddock finished with 13 for the Bears.