Harrison junior Katelynn Sherrick sank a free-throw to break a 44-44 tie late in Wednesday night’s non-conference girls basketball game with visiting Marion, giving the Lady Hornets just enough for a 45-44 victory.
“What I noticed is our kids held it under control,” Harrison head coach Kelly Cook said. “We really controlled the ball well. They responded to anything we said and adjusted. They’ve been working hard in practice and it’s starting to show.”
Sherrick’s shot came with 1:14 left in the contest, and though the Lady Eagles had several chances to take a late lead, they weren’t able to pull ahead. The last of which came on a desperation three-pointer by Chloe Johnson that rimmed out as the buzzer sounded.
“We knew it would be like this,” Marion head coach Brian Miller said. “When we play each other we know it’s a game withing our grasp. I’m not going to put words into their coaches mouth but it was probably the best I’ve seen them play.”
Marion took an early 6-2 lead in the game on a put-back basket by Johnson, but an and-one three-point play by Erica Heckman helped give Harrison a 7-6 lead late in the frame.
Johnson closed the quarter with a steal and a fastbreak basket to give Marion an 8-7 lead after the first.
The Lady Eagles took the biggest lead of the game for either team at 18-11 on a straight-away bank shot by Megan Gage went through for a three-pointer.
Harrison closed the half on a 9-2 run, capped by a Hillary Brewer and-one three-point play to tie the game at 20-20 at the break.
“I would say, a couple years ago we didn’t have that push (to comeback),” Cook said. “I know now that this team won’t cave in. Even when we were down eight I was confident in them.”
The squads stayed within two points of each other the entire third quarter, with Marion being paced by Maddy Swiler’s eight points and Harrison getting a three-pointer by Brooke Colville. Colville’s three gave Harrison a 29-28 lead late in the quarter, with Johnson getting the quarter’s final hoop to give Marion a 30-29 entering the fourth quarter.
Erica Heckman netted the first basket of the fourth quarter to give Harrison a 31-30. Heckman later added a putback basket despite getting fouled and added the ensuing free-throw to give the Lady Hornets a 34-30 edge with 5:28 to play.
Swiler and Ashley Nowland hit a free-throw apiece to bring the Lady Eagles within 34-32 with 3:29 to play, and Nowland hit a short jumper to tie the game at 34-34 with 1:40 left to play, setting up Sherrick’s tie breaking free-throw.
“We got the shots we wanted, we got into the paint we just didn’t hit any of them,” Miller said. “Their pressure hurt us too. It’s not that they were forced turnovers, we just tried to force things that weren’t there.”
Heckman led Harrison with 11 points in the win, Brewer had nine, Allison Lipovsky scored six, Colville had five and Sherrick finished with four.
Swiler scored nine points for Marion, Johnson had eight, Nowland netted seven, with Gage and Amber Gillespie both scoring three.
On Monday, Dec. 17 the Lady Hornets dropped a non-league game to host Evart, 41-37.
Harrison trailed 15-6 after the first quarter but cut the lead to two at 21-19 at the break. Both teams scored eight points in the third quarter to give the lady Wildcats a 28-26 lead entering the fourth.
Evart made four free throws down the stretch to hang on to the four-point win.
Brewer scored 10 points to lead Harrison, Heckman netted seven, Lipovsky and Olivia Sharp both scored six and Colville and Brandi Powell both had four.
Harrison (2-5 overall, 1-3 JPC) returns to action on Jan. 3, hosting Jack Pine Confernce foe Gladwin.