Coaches preach the importance of playing four quarters of basketball.
It would be Nick Yourkovich's ladies from Harrison Central emphasizing the lesson with a strong finish to defeat host Buckeye Local by a 48-36 count Monday night in Connorville.
The game was still up for grabs with 4:34 left in the final frame as the Panthers would trail by a single point, 34-33. The Huskies would finish with a strong 11-1 run as sophomore Katie Ellzy was a big part of their 14-4 closing session, netting 10 of her game high 15 points.
Harrison Central’s Shannon Compher goes up for a shot as Alexis Valuska defends for Buckeye Local during Monday’s game in Connorville. Additional images may be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
"Katie has proven she has the capability to be a team leader but we do not tend to rely on just one player and as a result, everyone feels confident," said Yourkovich. "We had some key threes by (Jesse) Ledger and (Shannon) Compher and (Kara) Dunfee in the fourth quarter which was very helpful in putting the game away."
The Panthers led 10-9 after the opening frame but the Huskies would put up lopsided numbers outscoring their hosts 13-5 to take a 22-15 lead into the intermission.
"I felt that while we were active and aggressive on defense in the first half, I thought we fell asleep in the third quarter," the Huskies coach added. "I think we got back and played solid 'D' again at the end of the game."
Amy Balk came out and put in the first four points of the second half for Buckeye Local narrowing the game to a single possession. The Panthers would outperform the Huskies by a narrow 11-9 margin and were frustrated by turnovers when opportunities to regain the lead would present themselves.
"It seemed like every time we made a mistake they capitalized on it," said Buckeye Local head coach Willie Luther. "We got every shot look we wanted, but unlike Harrison, we just could not capitalize on our opportunities.
"We started well, I thought we did a good job in the second quarter, but you also have to finish well," Luther added. "We need to get tougher mentally so we can stay in games."
Ellzy paced the Huskies, adding another double-double to her total with 12 rebounds added to her 15 points. Jesse Ledger and Shannon Compher both connected on three treys apiece, accounting for their nine lightings.
Harrison Central made good on 12 of 36 two-point and seven of 21 three point shots while shooting 3 of 5 from the charity stripe. The Huskies pulled down 27 rebounds, committed 18 turnovers while garnering 13 steals.
Amy Balk was the sole player breaking the double figure ceiling for the Panthers with 11 points. Buckeye Local netted 15 of 43 action shots and 6 of 11 foul shots. The Panthers also gathered in 27 caroms led by Kayla Fillopovich with nine boards. Buckeye Local turned it over 24 times with 15 steals.
Buckeye Local falls to 2-9 and will host East Liverpool Wednesday followed by a varsity only contest with Martins Ferry Thursday tipping off at 6:15. Harrison Central improves to 6-7 and will host St. Clairsville Thursday in Cadiz.
The Huskies won the jayvee contest, 39-33.
BUCKEYE LOCAL (36) - Zeroski 2, 3-4 7; Swiger 2, 1-2 5; Smith 0, 0-0 0; Fillipovich 3, 0-0 6; Valuska 0, 1-2 1; Czuchran 3, 0-0 6, Balk 5, 1-3 11. Totals 15, 6-11. HARRISON CENTRAL (48) - Ledger 3, 0-0 9; Compher 3, 0-0 9; Dodds 0, 0-0 0; Richards 3, 0-0 6; Dunfee 1, 2-4 5; Ellzy 7. 1-1 15; Custer 2, 0-0 4. Totals 19, 3-5.
Three Point Goals; Harrison Central Compher (3), Ledger (3), Dunfee.