STEUBENVILLE - The Harrison Central girls' basketball team's dream season came to a close Thursday night against Garaway in an Ohio Division III Eastern District semifinal at Big Red. The Pirates built a 14-point lead after one quarter and did not look back en route to a 61-37 victory.
"We came out early and executed well," Harrison Central head coach Nick Yourkovich said. "We broke the press, we handled it, we got the ball inside. I didn't think they would be able to handle Katie Ellzy.
"They hit some 3s in their little run. Their aggressiveness took over. They played a better game than we did."
RUNNING THE OFFENSE — Harrison Central’s Shianne Nameth passes around Kaitlyn Miller of Garaway in the first half of Thursday’s Division III Eastern District semifinal at the Crimson Center. The Pirates defeated the Huskies 61-37 to end the most successful season in Harrison history.
-- Matthew Peaslee
ON THE FLOOR — Paige Richards of the Huskies dribbles to the hoop in the second quarter.
-- Matthew Peaslee
The Pirates (22-3) took control of the game with a 13-0 spurt enabling them to build a 19-6 advantage.
"It is nice when you are on the right end of runs," Garaway head coach Jim Monigold said. "I think the girls felt a little bit of pressure. There were some jitters. We were playing on a new court.
"We got some steals, and that got us going offensively. Things just snowballed from there. We were able to gain the momentum."
With the win, Garaway will play Fort Frye in the district final at 7 p.m. Saturday at Big Red. The Cadets advanced to Saturday night's matchup by defeating St. Clairsville, 55-32, in Thursday's first semifinal game of the night.
Two players scored in double digits for the Huskies (20-5). Shianne Nemeth tallied a team-high 14 points, while Ellzy collected 11.
"We knew they wanted to get the ball underneath to Ellzy," Monigold said. "She was our main focus defensively."
Also, Jesse Ledger and Ronna Orr each recorded three points, and Madison Doty, Alexis Yoho and Kara Dunfee all ended up with two points.
Courtney Putt tallied a game-high 21 points to lead the way for the Pirates. Putt was the only Pirate player to reach double digits.
"Putt is really good," Yourkovich said. "She is the best all-around player we have seen all year."
Also for Garaway Katelyn Miller collected nine points, while Kendra Miller and Meese each tallied eight points.
Ellzy scored the first points of the game, but it was the only time the Huskies led. Garaway led by as many as 25 points on the night.
"We were able to keep the pressure on them," Monigold said. "We played full-court man-to-man. We played it with a lot of intensity. That is something we have been working on. It is paying off."
The Pirates hit three 3-pointers in the first eight minutes of play en route to taking a 22-8 advantage after the first quarter.
"They did exactly what we thought they were going to do," Yourkovich said. "We prepared for it. Throughout the season our JVs prepared us well for our opponents. You just can't simulate that type of pressure. They showed why they are a 22-win team."
The Huskies outscored the Pirates in the third quarter, but still trailed 47-27 entering the fourth quarter.
Harrison Central is losing three seniors from this year's team. They are Ledger, Dunfee and Orr.
"I can't say enough about what they did for the program and all of the sacrifices they made," Yourkovich said. "I am really going to miss them. They provided a lot of leadership. I am going to miss them. I love them. I wish I could redshirt them.
"These kids have nothing to hang their heads about. People will never forget what this team accomplished this season."
Garaway 61, Harrison Central 37
Harrison Central 8 10 9 10 - 37
Garaway 22 17 8 14 - 61
HARRISON CENTRAL (20-5): Doty 1 0-0 2, Ledger 1 0-0 3, Yoho 1 0-1 2, Warrington 0 0-0 0, Carter 0 0-0 0, Richards 0 0-0 0, Morrison 0 0-0 0, Nameth 4 3-5 14, Dunfee 1 0-1 2, Kuryn 0 0-0 0, Keesey 0 0-0 0, Orr 1 0-0 3, Ellzy 5 1-2 11, Dowdle 0 0-1 0, Stackhouse 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14 4-10 37. 3-Pointers: Nameth 3, Ledger, Orr.
GARAWAY (22-3): Slemmer 1 2-2 4, Walter 2 1-2 5, Werker 1 0-0 2, Monigold 0 0-1 0, Smith 0 0-0 0, C. Putt 8 2-2 21, Meese 3 1-2 8, A. Putt 0 0-0 0, Stress 2 0-0 4, Misko 0 0-0 0, Weaver 0 0-0 0, Miller 3 3-6 9, Beachy 0 0-0 0, Miller 2 4-4 8. Totals: 22 13-19 61. 3-Pointers: C. Putt 3, Meese.