Tyler Durstine

Titusville’s Tyler Durstine (15) goes up to the basket between Harbor Creek’s Ben Kienholz (5) and Kolby Yale during Friday’s Region 5 game.

After opening up the season on the road on Wednesday, the home confines of the Launch Pad didn’t provide any better luck on Friday for the Titusville Rockets boys basketball team. In their home and Region 5 opener, the Rockets fell 56-16 to the visiting Harbor Creek Huskies.

Sam Howell and Cody Smith shot a combined 11-12 from short range and each totaled a game-high 12 points to lead Harbor Creek (3-1 overall, 2-0 Region 5). Jaden Rocco also reached double figures with 10 points for the visitors.

Titusville (0-2 overall, 0-1 Region 5) got four points from both Manny Perez and Hunter Titus, as Derek Beach, Garrett Knapp, Adam Schenberg and Drew Wheeling chipped in a bucket each.

“They’re a phenomenal team,” Titusville coach Craig Mehlenbacher said. “They’ve got a lot of three-year starters, and this is their year. We’re young and inexperienced.”

Harbor Creek put the pressure on the young Rockets early and often in the opening quarter. The Huskies forced nine first-quarter Titusville turnovers while scoring the first 23 points of the contest. 

Beach put the Rockets on the board with 1:39 left in the first after converting a contested lay-up in the paint. However, the Huskies led 25-3 at the end of the frame and cruised to victory.

As Mehlenbacher stated after the season-opening loss at Cochranton on Wednesday, he and his team are looking for game-to-game improvement during the course of the season. He felt like that occurred on both sides of the ball.

“I thought our half-court defense was a heck of a lot better today, and we ran our offense better,” he said.

On the offensive side of the floor, Titusville missed nine fewer shot attempts than during the season opener. They were also taking more time on each possession, working the plays and waiting for the better looks.

“It’s tough to score against (Harbor Creek), but we were more patient and looked for the open guy,” Mehlenbacher said. “We still need improvement with swinging it to the other side and skipping it and things like that, but I thought we ran it a lot better.”

Titusville will look for its first win of the season on Tuesday when the Rockets travel to Corry to face the Beavers in another Region 5 contest at 7 p.m.

“We all know we’re inexperienced and in a tough place,” Mehlenbacher said when asked about keeping the team motivated this season. “The biggest thing I stress is don’t give up and improve every day, even if it’s something small. Hopefully, we should see growth throughout the season and that can translate to next year because we are so young.”

Harbor Creek 56, Titusville 16

HARBOR CREEK (3-1 OVERALL, 2-0 REGION 5)

FGM-FGA FT-FTA PTS: Whitman 3-6 0-0 6, Howell 6-10 0-0 12, Rocco 5-9 0-0 10, Ennis 3-5 1-2 7, Smith 5-5 2-3 12, Kunholz 1-2 1-2 3, Bresee 0-3 0-0 0, Yale 1-4 0-0 2, Kruszewski 2-2 0-0 4, Stenger 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 26-46 4-7 56.

TITUSVILLE (0-2 OVERALL, 0-1 REGION 5)

FGM-FGA FT-FTA PTS: Perez 2-10 0-0 4, Knapp 1-4 0-0 2, Durstine 0-8 0-0 0, Beach 1-6 0-0 2, Wheeling 1-2 0-0 2, Schenberg 1-1 0-0 2, Neely 0-2 0-0 0, Titus 1-6 1-2 4, Abrigo 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 7-39 1-2 16.

Score by Quarters

Harbor Creek 25 17 10 4 — 56

Titusville 3 4 4 5 — 16

Game Statistics

3-point goals — Harbor Creek 0-5 (Howell 0-3, Kunholz 0-1, Whitman 0-1), Titusville 1-19 (Titus 1-4, Durstine 0-6, Beach 0-3, Perez 0-3, Neely 0-2, Knapp 0-1). Rebounds — Harbor Creek 23 (Rocco 6), Titusville 15 (Titus/Wheeling 3). Turnovers — Harbor Creek 10, Titusville 19. Total fouls — Harbor Creek 8, Titusville 7.

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