By MIKE SMITH
On Jan. 12, the Harrison Huskies traveled to Rye for the first leg of a Monday/Friday double-booking with the rival Garnets. Unfortunately for Harrison, it was Rye that took the first game of the season series, downing the visitors 60-36.
Maddie Eck led the way for the Garnets, scoring a game-high 21 points in the win. The Garnets improved to 7-2 with the victory and their keys to success have been simple, as they use their height and their quickness to harass opposing ball-handlers and crash the boards.
“They are long and athletic and that definitely bothered us,” Harrison coach Louis Kail said. “I really just don’t think we played particularly well.”
Playing their signature up-tempo game, the Garnets jumped out to a double-digit first quarter lead against Harrison, but the Huskies were able to right the ship somewhat in the second quarter, by collecting a few rebounds of their own and putting together a run that saw them close the gap to six points. In the end, though, it was Rye’s dominance on the glass that proved the difference-maker in the ball game.
“The biggest issue we had was rebounding the basketball, but during that run we rebounded a little bit better,” the Harrison coach said. “At halftime, they had 14 offensive rebounds. We had six total. That was a major factor.”
At 5-5, the Huskies are entering into a grueling stretch of league games that will certainly test a solid–if uneven–Harrison team. Over the course of the season, Kail has been pleased with the play of his squad, but is now hoping they can put it together for four quarters against upper-echelon opponents such as Rye.
“We’ve got points where we play very good basketball,” he said. “But we just have to get over that hump and start winning close games.”
One particular bright spot for the Huskies has been the play of senior point guard Paige Brabant, who has made her presence felt on both sides of the basketball.
“She plays every minute of every game, even when she’s gassed,” Kail said. “She does so much for us on offense and defensively, we ask her to guard their best player.”
After squaring-off against Blind Brook on Jan. 13, Harrison will host Rye on Jan. 17, then prepare to take on two good teams in Beacon next week.
“We’ve got Rye and then a couple of very good teams,” Kail said. “Obviously we have some work to do on Wednesday and Thursday.”