SHADYSIDE -When Jim Miller returned to the head coaching job at Shadyside there was some doubt that this season would be a productive one for the Lady Tigers. With coach Tina Yates stepping down and the graduation of Karli Bonar and Hayley Holenka combining to leave a big vacancy the early season match up with Harrison Central was forecast to be a lopsided affair.
When the Huskies rolled out to a 7-0 lead to start the contest it appeared that the nay sayers were correct. Someone forgot to tell the scrappy LTs because they twice rallied back from double digit deficits to make a contest of Friday night's meeting. When the final buzzer sounded it would be 45-42 marking the first win for Miller and his Shadyside team this season.
"It is a big win for the program," said Miller. "These kids showed a lot of heart sustaining an effort."
SHADYSIDE’S Kenzie Fielding (11) shoots over Harrison Central’s Katie Ellzy Friday night.
Trailing by the 7-0 margin the LT squad would rally back to tie it up at 7 apiece at the 2:42 mark in the first quarter.
Harrison Central again pushed to gain an advantage in the second quarter but senior Toni Andes would lead the rally back going to the foul line to give her Tigers their first lead of the contest 19-18 with just over a minute left in the first half.
The hosts would lead 24-20 at the break and when the two teams returned to the court for the second half a classic hardwood battle would ensue.
The Huskies led 34-33 going into the final frame. Shadyside would go on a run to begin the fourth extending to 39-35 for thei biggest lead of the contest. Harrison Central went back on top 42-41 with 1:32 left on the clock when Jesse Ledger netted a three-point shot.
The two squads traded unsuccessful possessions as three-point goal attempts at both ends did not connect.
With just 17 ticks left Andes would drive into the paint against Harrison defender Katie Ellzy posting the go ahead bucket giving the Tigers a 43-42 lead.
Harrison quickly drove down the court where a turnover led to three fouls on inbounds before the Tigers made their bonus and sent Andes to the line for a one and one attempt. The shot bounced off the rim but teammate Lindsey Dunn pulled down the carom and made good on the put back to make it 45-42.
"We have worked hard on rebounding, and for a long time it just was not there," Miller commented. "It is very gratifying to see a kid box out, fight to get to the spot where she needs to be on that play and then get that basket.
"We showed a lot of grit," said Miller of his team's performance. "There was no substituting."
Just 3.5 seconds were left as the Huskies tried the inbound pass hoping for a buzzer beater to send the contest into overtime. The victory was clinched when junior Kenzie Fielding leaped into the air intercepting the ball starting the celebration.
"They might not be the most talented team we will face this season, but nobody is going to play any harder than them," Harrison Central head coach Nick Yourkovich complimented. "They fought hard and right now we are getting out-hustled."
"Put that on me," Yourkovich said. "I think our early play has shown that I have not properly prepared them for the season."
Andes led all scoring with 20 points. Dunn notched a double-double for the Tigers with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Fielding added 8 points as Shadyside out-rebounded the Huskies 35-20.
Ellzy paced Harrison Central with 14 points and 7 rebounds. Kara Dunfee added 13 points including a pair of treys. Shianne Nameth added 8 points and Ledger a pair of threes.
Shadyside committed 13 turnovers to just 9 for the Huskies.
The next opponent for the Huskies will be Buckeye Local while the Tigers host Monroe Central. Both games are on Monday.
SHADYSIDE (45) - Eneix 0, 0-0 0; Dunn 4, 2-2 11; Fielding 4, 0-0 8; Andres 7, 3-4 20; Johnson 1, 2-2 4; Archer 1, 0-0 2. Totals 18, 7-8. HARRISON (42) Ellzy 6, 2-2 14;Keesey 0, 1-4 1; Orr 0, 0-0 0; Dunfee 5, 1-2 13; Nameth 3, 1-2 8; Ledger 2, 0-0 6. Totals - 16, 5-10.
Three-point goals. Harrison Central; Shultz, Richards. Shadyside; Andes (3), Dunn.