Harrison squeaks past Bellaire

CADIZ For the second time in a week, the John W. Stephenson Center witnessed a comeback win by a Harrison Central team. Thursday night it would be the Lady Huskies fighting back from an 11-point deficit to garner a 44-42 win in the closing seconds over visiting Bellaire.

Harrison Central would use the long ball as Jesse Ledger and Shianne Nameth netted treys to boost the home team to a 12-6 lead with 2:34 remaining in the opening frame.

The Lady Big Reds would take back the momentum, closing the gap to 12-11 by the end of the quarter. In the second stanza Bellaire would hold Harrison Central to just four points while scoring 12. Keirstyn Kidder drained her second three-pointer and team mate Nina Crook dropped one in from outside the arc to give the visitors a 23-16 advantage at the intermission.

Bellaire had gone 4 of 4 from the foul line in the second and duplicated the effort in the third quarter showing a perfect 8-for-8 and extending their advantage to 33-24 going into the final frame.

As the final quarter began, the Big Reds seemed to be in control.

However the Huskies’ defense began to turn the tide forcing miscues and eroding the lead.

Paige Richards scored her only points of the game making good on a three-point shot, but the rest of the damage was done in the paint and at the charity stripe by the inside duo of Katie Ellzy and D.J. Keesey.

Keesey had been silent up to the final stanza until she knocked down a pair of jumpers to close the gap to 35-31 with 5:35 remaining.

Bellaire’s defense had effectively taken Ellzy out of the game in the first half, but the junior post scored 14 of her game-high 22 points in the second half. Ellzy was perfect at the line in the half going 8-for-8, including two critical one-and-one opportunities in the fourth.

Ellzy made a pair of buckets to make it 40-39, then dropped in both charity shots on the next possession to take back the lead with 46.2 ticks left.

At the other end of the court, Kidder was making crucial buckets for the Big Reds. The junior point guard had cashed in a three-point goal and a free throw would give her team back the lead 42-41 with just 37.9 showing on the game clock.

Nameth missed the front end of a double bonus, but put the back-end through the hoop to knot the contest at 42 with just 14.3 seconds to play.

The Big Reds in-bounded successfully but dribbled out of bounds on the pass and the Huskies seemingly returned the favor on the following possession, but the whistle was followed by a pointed finger back towards the home goal.

“We played a great three quarters then things happened that were out of our hands … that we honestly could not control and it kind of took the game away from us,” Bellaire head coach Marci Quirk said. “At the end of the game we stopped who we wanted to stop and someone else hit the shot.”

The ball ended up in the hands of Keesey and her jumper found the mark to send the Huskies bench jumping onto the court in celebration. The final buzzer had not sounded and Bellaire would get one last catch-and-shoot opportunity. The long inbound was intercepted by Keesey to seal the comeback victory for Harrison Central.

“I wish we could have played four quarters like that instead of one,” Harrison Central head coach Nick Yourkovich said, “It is always our plan to get it inside, whether it is to Katie or to D.J.

“D.J. is capable inside. I thought she showed that tonight,” Yourkovich added. “She came in and made some big buckets for us, before the last one.”

“I am beginning to think you have to be up by 10 up here in the last minute to win.” Quirk added. “Overall though, I have to say I am proud of my girls.”

Bellaire was led by Kidder with 19 points. Aubrey Ryan pulled down eight of the Big Reds’ 29 rebounds. They were 8 of 38 from 2-point and 4 of 11 from 3-point range. The visitors went 14 of 21 from the charity stripe and committed 27 turnovers.

Harrison Central went 13 of 37 from close range and 3 of 19 from long range. The Huskies posted a 9 of 12 outing from the foul line. The home team had 22 turnovers.

Both teams garnered 15 steals.

Harrison Central will host Oak Glen while Bellaire welcomes Bridgeport to Guernsey Street. Both games are on Monday.

BELLAIRE (42) Garloch 2, 2-4 6; Kidder 5, 6-10 19; Crozier 0, 0-0 0; Gillespie 1, 3-4 5; 2, 2-2 6; Crook 2, 1-2 6. Totals 12, 14-22. HARRISON CENTRAL (44) Ledger 1, 0-0 3; Yoho 1, 0-0 2; Richards 1, 0-2 3; Nameth 1, 1-2 4; Dunfee 2, 0-0 4; Keesey 3, 0-0 6; Orr 0, 0-0 0; Ellzy 7, 8-8 22. Totals 16, 9-12.

Three-Point Goals: Bellaire (4) Kidder 3, Crook). Harrison Central 3 (Ledger, Richards, Nameth).

Palmer can be reached at mpalmer@timesleaderonline.com