Harrison Central girls win at tough ‘House of Horrors’

MORRISTOWN — ‘The Hangar’ inside Union Local High School is regarded as a pretty tough gymnasium for visiting basketball teams, boys or girls, to play in.

Harrison Central girls head coach Nick Yourkovich knows that all too well.

“This place has been a personal ‘House of Horrors’ for me. In my 10 years I’ve probably played here 11-12 times, and this may only be our second win up here,” the former Martins Ferry standout said after a 44-37 Buckeye 8 victory over Union Local. “So, it’s nice to get one (a win) up here. It’s also nice to get a road win in the Buckeye 8.”

A quick start out of the gates allowed the Huskies (2-2) to take leads of 17-11 at the end of one quarter and 24-16 at the half. Six different players reached the scoring column.

“Our start was the key tonight. We came out really flat Monday night against St. Clairsville,” Yourkovich said. “Tonight, we had a lot of girls step up and make shots. That helped us to gain some confidence early on, which led to us being able to withstand their spurt late in the third quarter and early in the fourth.

“We grew up a lot tonight. We had a lot of people play. A bunch of people played well, and we were able to overcome that adversity of them taking the lead in the third quarter.”

The Jets (1-2), who shot just 24 percent (12 of 50) for the game, chipped away a little at a time in the third quarter and eventually took a 28-27 lead — their first of the contest — when sophomore Casey Kildow went coast-to-coast for a layup after recording a steal.

However, Harrison Central netted the final four points of the quarter for a 31-28 edge.

“Despite battling back to take the lead, we still shot the ball poorly,” first-year Union Local head coach Rob Barr said. “We won’t win many games shooting that poorly. I don’t know what we shot, but it couldn’t have been good.”

Included in those frigid numbers was a dismal 7 of 31 mark from behind the 3-point arc.

“With our size, we have to rely on running the floor, shooting the ball and getting loose balls,” Barr said. “It seemed to me that every loose ball they (Harrison) got.

“We came back by pressuring their guards. We took the lead and had the ball, but I thought we forced something right there and, before I knew it, we were back down by four and playing from behind again.”

Harrison Central led 40-37 with less than 30 seconds to play, but the Huskies were guilty of their 21st turnover with 28 ticks showing. However, the Jets gave the ball right back and had to foul.

Huskie senior Sydney Starr, who missed a pair of free throws earlier in the quarter, calmly sank four straight in the waning moments to preserve the victory.

“Syd was huge in the fourth quarter after struggling mightily in the first three quarters,” Yourkovich said. “We told her that we were going to get her the ball down the stretch, and she was going to make them. Sydney has been a model of consistency for three years now, so we knew eventually if we kept getting her the ball that she would come up with some big shots for us.”

Starr finished with a game-high 14 points, while freshman McKayla Dunkle recorded a double-double with 11 points and 15 rebounds. Britton Positano and Lexie McAfee evenly split a dozen.

Hannah Porter and Kildow each tallied 12 points for the Jets, who also received six from Alison Loase.

Harrison Central held a commanding 43-20 advantage off the glass behind Dunkle’s career-high effort. Starr finished with seven. Kildow led Union Local with five.

Harrison Central 44, Union Local 37

Harrison Central 17-7-7-13 — 44

Union Local 11-5-12-9 — 37

HARRISON CENRAL: Positano 2 1-2 6; Dunkle 4 3-4 11; Madzia 1 0-1 2; Starr 5 4-6 14; McAfee 2 0-0 6; Corder 0 0-0 0; Johnson 1 0-0 3; Haney 1 0-0 2; Miller 0 0-0 0; TOTALS: 16, 8-13: 44.

UNION LOCAL: Kildow 3 5-6 12; Butler 2 0-0 4; Menges 0 0-0 0; Porter 4 0-0 12; Loase 2 1-2 6; Merritt 1 0-0 3; Gregor 0 0-2 0; Robb 0 0-0 0; TOTALS: 12, 6-10: 37.

3-POINT GOALS: Harrison Central 4 (McAfee 2, Johnson, Positano); Union Local 7 (Porter 4, Kildow, Merritt, Loase).