DOVER- Harrison Central came out strong in the Division III sectional semifinals at Dover High School Wednesday night and held off a late charge by Sandy Valley to advance by a 50-46 final decision.
"We did just enough early to hag on," said Harrison Central head coach Nick Yourkovitch. "In the fourth quarter we missed three front ends on one-and-ones where we could have put it away but we did what we had to when it came down to crunch time and finished out for the win."
Harrison Central led 18-12 after the first period as Kara Dunfee netted a trey and went 6-for-6 at the foul line in the opening frame.
HARRISON CENTRAL’S Kara Dunfee shoots for two points Wednesday night in Dover. The Lady Huskies won. Additional images can be found at timesleaderonline.com
The Huskies defense held the Cardinals to 8 second quarter points while spreading it around on offense getting some assistance off the bench as Rona Orr drained a three boosting the total for the frame to a dozen,
Sandy Valley trailed 30- 20 at the break but came out in the third and turned up the heat defensively. The two squads both netted 14 points in the stanza allowing Harrison Central to enter the final frame with their double digit lead intact.
The Cardinals narrowed the gap to 4 points trailing 47-43 at the 3:39 mark in the fourth/
"We went cold," Yourkovitch explained. "Fortunately for us so did they."
The score remained unchanged as the two teams traded empty buckets until the Cardinals broke the ice with a foul shot narrowing the gap to a single bucket with just 60 ticks remaining.
Harrison Central's Dunfee had netted a perfect 12 from the foul line last week and with the 6 from the first quarter at Dover she had hit 18 straight, but would miss the mark on her next two attempts as the ladies from Cadiz shot a chilly 2 of 9 from the stripe up to that point in the final frame.
Dunfee then went to the line on a double bonus with 41.4 seconds remaining and got back on track netting the pair to put the Huskies in the finals. Paige Richards drew a foul and moved the Huskies back out to 3 points before the buzzer accounting for the insurance bucket.
The Huskies were paced by Katie Ellzy with a double-double scoring 18 points with 12 rebounds adding 3 steals and 2 blocks. Dunfee finished just off the mark for her own double D with 15 points, and 9 caroms. Richards added 8 points for the Lady. Harrison Central made good on 20 of 29 trips to the foul line, pulling down 39 rebounds, committing 14 turnovers.
"This is our fourth year in a row in the sectional finals," commented Yourkovitch noting an 0-4 success rate in the trophy game. "We think it is time to take the next step."
Indian Valley rolled past Coshocton in the night cap 59-35 as the Braves improved to 13-8 and will now play Harrison Central (12-11) for the upper bracket championship next Thursday at 6 p.m.
SANDY VALLEY (46) - Van Zant 0 0-2 0, Kotlar 4 0-0 8, M.Bowling 4 6-13 15, Huffman 7 2-4 16, Dix 3 0-0 6, Eyster 0 1-2 1. Totals 18 9-21. HARRISON CENTRAL (50) - Ledger 1 4-7 6, Richards 3 2-4 8, Dunfee 3 8-10 15, Orr 1 0-0 3, Ellzy 6 6-8 18. Totals 14 20-29.
Three-Point Goals-Sandy Valley (M. Bowling); Harrison Central 2 (Dunfee, Orr).
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