Smith takes over the Harrison Central program


For The Times Leader

CADIZ–The Harrison Central girls team too is breaking in a new coach, though he should be a familiar face to Huskies faithful, especially anywhere near the hardwood.

A star guard for the Huskies as a student, Smith spent the last few seasons assistant longtime girls goal Nick Yourkovich, and prior to that, served as head coach of the OU Eastern women’s team.

One positive–four actually–for Smith is he’s not only familiar with his current crop of Huskies, but four of the team’s starters from last season return.

Senior Maddy Butler (5-2), Emma Fischer (5-5), Mackenzie Harbold (5-4), and junior Angi Ferri (5-7) all return from last year’s team.

There is however, one large hole in the starting lineup, one vacated by all-Ohio and current Mount Union Purple Raider McKayla Dunkle.

“Some games she was 60 percent of our offense,” Smith recalled. “She was 20 and 10 for three years and a large chunk of the offense ran through her.

“The cupboard is not bare, it’s just missing a big piece.”

The offensive philosophy has changed a bit, as has the defense. The Huskies aren’t looking to feed the paint first on each trip down the floor but rather push the tempo, get the ball up the floor, and spread the ball around to create some offense.

In their season opening loss to Bellaire 73-48, Ferri and junior Danica Rensi (5-9) led the team with nine points apiece; Fischer and Butler totaled eight each.

The score is certainly more balanced. There were a few too many turnovers that game, but Smith credited that more to Bellaire’s talent and pressure defense and maybe some opening game jitters, moreso than a representative effort of what fans in Cadiz can expect this season.

“Bellaire is a great team with a lot of skill and their press got to us off the bat,” Smith said. “It was actually 26-18 with 2:12 left and they went on a 12-0 run and it was tough to get back from that.

The Huskies don’t boast a center in the traditional sense.

But when size is a necessity, they do have a couple of options in senior Cali Lewis (6-1) and sophomore Maddie Sedgmer (5-10).

“Cali doesn’t have a lot of varsity experience, but she put in the time this offseason. Her footwork improved greatly and she’ll be able to grab some boards and provide an inside force,” Smith said.

He noted Sedgmer has grown in the last 3-4 months and is strong and physical.

“She’s a bruiser and can do a lot of damage for us,” Smith added.

Another youngster with a bright future is Kaily Banal, a 5-4 guard. Smith noted his team is somewhat guard dominant, which comes in handy when his players get into foul trouble.

“She saw some time last year and, when we get in foul trouble, which we tend to do, she can come in and help out as she’s a good ball handler and can shoot,” Smith noted.

Kaylyn Ledger (5-7) and Jazmyne Pierce (5-6) round of the six-player strong senior class. Smith credit junior Ava Carson (5-5) for her knowledge of the game and feels she’s like having an extra coach on the bench.

Finally, sophomore Kendal Hercules has an excellent motor according to Smith and her ability to defend should get her some varsity minutes.

There are 18 players total between varsity and junior varsity, along with another 19 in the junior high level. The numbers and interest in the program remain high, which boards well for the Huskies’ program under Smith.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today