DOVER - Memorable moments continue to mount for the Harrison Central girls' basketball team.
Two weeks after capturing the school's first OVAC championship, the Huskies added to their historic season Saturday inside Dover High School.
By virtue of their 49-39 triumph against Tuscarawas Valley, Harrison Central locked up an Ohio Division III sectional championship and secured the program's first 20-win season.
HARRISON CENTRAL’S Jesse Ledger makes a pass over a Tuscarawas Valley defender during their Division III?sectional final at Dover High School Saturday afternoon.
The reward? A trip to this week's district tournament at Steubenville High School. There, the Huskies will meet Garaway. Tip is set for 8 p.m. Fort Frye and St. Clairsville will battle in the lidlifter at 6.
The Pirates thumped Union Local, 57-30, in Saturday afternoon's second contest.
"This feels fantastic," an elated Harrison Central head coach Nick Yourkovich said. "This is the fifth year in a row that we've gotten to this game and it's the first time we've finally gotten over the hump.
"I'm so proud of the girls. I'm proud of the coaches, proud of the fans. Our fans were amazing.
"The coaches did a great job with the gameplan and our kids just came out and played their hearts out."
A 9-2 run to start the third quarter fueled the victory.
Shianne Nameth got things going with a jumper making the score 18-15. Following a Trojans layup, the Huskies reeled off seven straight points. Katie Ellzy had a layup, followed by a 3-pointer by Jesse Ledger. Nameth capped the surge with a jumper making the score 25-17.
"We haven't played a whole 32 minutes all year, I don't think," Yourkovich said. "But, we'll come out, get a nice spurt, and play really well and be like, OK. I think after that spurt in the third quarter we realized it was just another game."
Yourkovich said there may have been some jitters that played into a somewhat lackluster first half for both squads. Neither team could get anything going offensively.
"We weren't patient on offense taking the first shot available," he said. "And then, we were sloppy. I don't know how many turnovers we had in the first half, but it wasn't like us. It was too many."
Clearly, the halftime break focused the Huskies.
"We settled down and started moving the basketball," Yourkovich said. "We got Katie involved and once she got going they had to pay a little more attention to her and we got open shots, open lanes to the basket and we started to finish.
"That run relaxed us."
No sooner did the Huskies feel comfortable than did Tusky Valley sharpshooter Cori Morris wake up. The senior drained four 3-pointers with about a 3-minute span to help the Trojans knot the game at 29-29.
Morris finished with a team-high 14 points.
Ellzy, who finished with 12 points, and Nameth responded with back-to-back hoops to put Harrison Central back up 34-31 late in the third.
Paige Richards scored with 6:45 left in the game making the score 36-31, and then Ellzy scored on a turnaround jumper in the lane upping the lead to 38-31 with 6:07 left.
The Trojans never threatened from there and only scored eight points in the quarter, seven by Sydney Gilland. She finished with 13.
"We knew Morris would eventually do some damage," Yourkovich said. "She got going in the third quarter, but we were able to contain everyone else."
Nameth ended up with 21.
"She's probably been our second-most consistent scorer the past month," Yourkovich said. "She's playing with a lot of confidence. She leaves everything out there on the floor. The way she played in the second is kind of what we expect out of her."
HARRISON CENTRAL (49) - Madison 0 0-0 0; Ledger 2 0-3 6; Yoho 0 0-0 0; Carter 2 0-0 5; Richards 1 1-5 3; Nameth 7 4-9 21; Dunfee 1 0-0 2; Keesey 0 0-0 0; Orr 0 0-0 0; Ellzy 5 2-4 12. Totals 18 7-21 49. TUSKY VALLEY (39) - Gilland 5 2-2 13; Horstman 1 0-0 2; Morris 5 0-0 14; Schnegg 0 1-4 1; Haas 0 0-0 0; White 0 0-0 0; Cornell 2 1-2 5; Hall 2 0-3 4; Varansky 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 4-11 39.
3-Point Goals: Nameth 3, Ledger 2, Carter; Morris 4, Gilland.
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