Harrison edges Bellaire, 50-49
BELLAIRE — The rims at the Guernsey Street gym have been none too kind to Harrison Central during coach Nick Yourkovich’s tenure on the bench.
Thursday night was no different as the Huskies had to overcome a abysmal 5 of 34 first half shooting performance and hold off a late Lady Reds’ charge in improving to 3-5 with a narrow 50-49 triumph.
“In the four years I’ve been here, we’ve never shot remarkably well down here I don’t know what it is,” Yourkovich said after his team’s 13 of 59 rating from the field.
Look no further than the lack of shooting touch early displayed by Jesse Ledger. Ledger struggled early to find the range and was never able to get dialed in from the perimeter. She finished with five points.
Keep in mind, Ledger canned 14 3-pointers her previous two games.
Leading scorer Katie Ellzy, who came in averaging 15 points per game, was limited 10 with six of her total coming at the line.
Bellaire post Myleah Green rendered the Huskies’ sophomore ineffective throughout the game with physical defense in the post.
“Green is an excellent low-post defender,” Yourkovich said. “I’ve always known that and she did a good job pushing Katie around and she struggled a bit.
“And in the first half, we had our two big guns on the bench and someone had to step up.”
Enter junior Kara Dunfee.
Dunfee, who only once scored more than seven points this season, had her best performance of the season.
She dropped in a game-high 16 points, including nine in the first half.
With the starting five back in the second half, Dunfee’s burden eased some.
However, her services were required late in the game and, again, she delivered.
Bellaire trailed 48-46 after a runner from freshman Nina Crook dropped in with seven seconds remaining.
Coming out of the timeout, Bellaire sought to foul and Dunfee, receiving the inbound, was sent to the line with 4.6 ticks left.
Calmly, Dunfee canned both ends of the two-shot trip, putting her team up by four. Bellaire raced to get the ball down the court and Crook’s 3-pointer from the wing banked in as the buzzer sounded. But thanks to Dunfee, that shot only cut the lead to one as time expired.
“The first half is the way I’ve expected her to play all year,” Yourkovich said. “At the start of it, we needed someone to carry us and she did that.”
While the shooter’s touch wasn’t on Harrison’s side, luck made an early departure from the Bellaire bench.
After trailing by as many as nine points in the second half, the Big Reds kept whittling away at the lead, only to watch an errant pass or stolen ball impede its progress.
Bellaire turned the ball over 27 times, a difficult task to overcome but one coach Marci Bonar is all too familiar with.
“Turnovers killed us,” Bonar said. “Every game we struggle with it. We had too many unforced errors, those mental errors.
“But they came back and never gave up. I just wish we could have displayed that mental toughness for four quarters.”
Cari Crozier led Bellaire with 13 points while Aubrey Ryan added 10 and eight rebounds.
Green added five points and six boards to go with her game defensive performance. But Green, like her teammates, suffered from a late run of bad luck.
Unquestionably the team’s top free throw shooter (75 percent through Monday), she finished just 3 of 8 from the line. Not the offensive performance she was looking for on her birthday.
“She usually never misses,” “Bonar said. “But she did play great defense on Ellzy and pretty much shut her down.”
Harrison, which defeated Indian Creek on Monday, will look to make it three in a row as it travels to Barnesville on Saturday. Bellaire, meanwhile tangles with cross-street rival St. John Central, also on Saturday in a 1 p.m. varsity only start.
Harrison Central made it a sweep by winning the jayvee game.
HARRISON CENTRAL (50) Ledger 2-15 0-0 5; Dodds 0-7 5-8 5; Dunfee 4-15 8-11 16; Ellzy 3-10 4-5 10; Custer 3-10 2-2 8; Hatfield 0-0 0-0 0; Compher 0-3 0-1 0; Richards 2-2 12- 6; Totals: 13-59 20-29 50. BELLAIRE (49) Kidder 3-11 1-3 8 Crozier 4-12 3-4 13; Ryan 2-3 6-6 10; Crook 3-7 1-2 8; Green 1-5 3-8 5; Gillespie 0-0 1-2 1; Messenger 2-2 0-3 4; Totals: 15-41 15-28 49.
Three-point Goals: Ledger. Kidder, Crozier 2, Crook.