Harrison girls primed for bounce-back season
CADIZ – The Lady Huskies of Harrison Central endured a rough season last winter. Don’t look for a repeat this time around.
Nick Yourkovich enters his 12th season at the Harrison Central helm. During that time, he has built a successful and consistent program. Last winter (2-21) was simply an aberration from the previous decade.
“Last year was a tough pill to swallow. It is not something that we are used to out here. It wasn’t for lack of hard work by the girls, we just didn’t compete consistently enough, coaches and players, to put ourselves in better position to win basketball games,” Yourkovich said. “We haven’t talked a whole lot about last season. We are treating it as an anomaly, but it has been eating at me since Feb. 19.
“One of the biggest hurdles we have here is the encouragement of multiple-sport female athletes,” added the former Martins Ferry High athletic great. “Being a small community, these girls need to be competing in two-three sports a year and being encouraged to get into the weight room. In my opinion, that helps every sport, not just basketball.”
Graduation was kind to the Harrison Central program. Just one Husky, Lexi Carter, picked up her diploma.
“We adjusted our off season program a little bit to combat some of our major flaws from the past few seasons. The staff is confident that this approach will get us back on the right track,” Yourkovich noted. “The players were all receptive and, I believe, have bought into our mentality.
“We return a ton of game experience from last year. Six girls back in the fold this year have starting experience and major minutes from last season,” he continued. “The game experience that was gained last season is invaluable to the progression of these girls moving forward. Most were thrown into the fire as freshmen, but they handled themselves as best they could.”
Senior Britton Positano returns at guard. The talented 5-5 guard has started the past two seasons, providing leadership and experience.
Fellow senior Audrey Corder returns for another year of starting duty. She is a 5-7 forward.
Rounding out the senior cast is Danyel Beadling. She is a 5-6 guard.
Harrison Central boasts a dandy in McKayla Dunkle . The 6-1 junior enjoyed a banner season a year ago.
“McKayla is in for a big season this year after averaging a double-double last year as a sophomore. Her leadership skills have really matured, and she is really driving the other girls to bring their best every day. She is one of the most skilled players that I have coached, but she still has tons of room for improvement,” Yourkovich said.
Running the offense for the Huskies will be 5-2 sophomore Maddy Butler.
“Maddy was thrown into the fire against a very tough schedule last year as a freshman starting point guard, and did not let us down. She is one of the fiercest competitors I have been around,” Yourkovich said.
Also bidding for regular action are Mackenzie Harbold (5-4), Maggie Goudy (5-4), Emma Fischer (5-5) as well as sophomores Cali Lewis (6-0) and Kaylin Lewis (5-7).
Youth is being served by two freshmen who may work themselves into quality varsity minutes. They are Danica Rensi (5-7) and Angi Ferri.
Sophomores Jazmyne Pierce and Selena Mojica, both 5-6 forwards, are ticketed for reserve duty.
The Harrison Central roster is rounded out by two freshmen: Ava Carson, a 5-4 guard, and Isabel Yeager, a 5-5 forward.
“Our attitudes so far in practices have been fantastic. The girls are coaching each other, holding each other accountable for their mistakes and bringing great energy every day. That attitude has completely re-energized me from Day 1, and I am genuinely looking forward to this season.”
Yourkovich’s staff includes Kara Dunfee and Katie Ellzy (varsity assistants) and Chace Smith (reserve coach).