Basketball

North Harrison finds success 'by committee'

The parking lot adjacent to North Harrison’s gym is overflowing on a cold, windy Tuesday evening in January. Inside, the girls basketball team is hosting its senior night. The blue bleachers are filled with spirited fans – a usual scene.

North Harrison's Lilly Hatton (right) is hugged by teammate Shelby Kondovski (11) after defeating Greensburg 46-42 in the Regional Tournament at Charlestown High School. North Harrison head coach Missy Voyles (left) joins in the celebration. Feb.13, 2016

North Harrison’s Lilly Hatton (right) is hugged by teammate Shelby Kondovski (11) after defeating Greensburg 46-42 in the Regional Tournament at Charlestown High School. North Harrison head coach Missy Voyles (left) joins in the celebration. Feb.13, 2016

Holding down the paint for North Harrison is Lilly Hatton, a 6-foot-1 sophomore center. As opposing players make their way to the basket, she puts little effort into forcing a turnover or blocking a shot. On offense, she gets to the rim at will despite consistent double-teams.

Ranked No. 1 in the latest Class 3A coaches poll, North Harrison is 49-5 with Hatton on its roster. The defending state runner-up, fresh off its second consecutive unbeaten Mid-Southern Conference run, is 21-2 this season and opens sectional play on Tuesday.

Hatton, though, is just one piece of coach Missy Voyles’ puzzle. Along with Hatton’s averages of 21.1 points, 8.8 rebounds and 4.9 blocks, North Harrison gets 13.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 3.4 steals per game from junior Cali Nolot.

Nolot, Voyles said, is North Harrison’s most versatile player, capable of playing anywhere from point guard to power forward. Her perimeter play alongside Hatton’s post presence has helped key the team’s success.

“If there wasn’t Lilly Hatton on this floor, (Nolot) would be averaging 10 more points per game, because we’d be pushing the ball to her that much more,” Voyles said. “She gets a little overshadowed. I hope that doesn’t happen when it comes to state recognition that I think she deserves.”

Juniors Taylor Rennirt (8.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists) and Hallie Hinton (4.3 points, 4 assists), along with senior Stevi Burns (5.1 points), add to the list of North Harrison’s unsung contributors. Rennirt and Hinton stepped in admirably last season after Nolot missed time with an injury.

“They just play very well together as a team,” Voyles said. “They’re very balanced. Defensively, they cover each other really well. … It’s just doing whatever you have to do each night to win. Whether that’s take it inside because they can’t guard Lilly tonight, take it inside. If it’s scoring off our defense, that’s just what we do. It’s by committee.”

A “perfect storm” of players, Voyles said, has guided North Harrison during its rise up the state ranks, but the community has done more than its share, according to Hatton, who is often greeted by fans – both young and old – around town.

“It’s been phenomenal,” Hatton said. “You don’t go to many schools where the boys crowd and the girls crowd is the same. We’ll go away, and nine times out of 10 our away crowd is bigger than the other team’s home crowd. People come out of the woodworks to watch us play. You can feel the community vibe that’s in the gym every time you step out. … When you step off the court, it’s still there. Out in Wal-Mart, little girls will run up to you and hug your legs. They think you’re a superstar.”

North Harrison and its passionate fan base travels to Corydon for Tuesday’s sectional opener versus Silver Creek (9-13) at 7 p.m. Voyles’ squad handled the Dragons 76-36 on Nov. 23 and is 4-0 in games played against sectional opponents this season. According to Indiana high school hoops guru John Harrell, North Harrison has a 29.1-percent chance to win the 3A state title.

Expectations remain high for North Harrison entering postseason play, but Voyles said her top-ranked team is worried about one thing.

“We don’t look more than one game ahead,” Voyles said. “ … We just putter along one game at a time. We have Tuesday’s game, and that’s where our focus is.”

So. Indiana girls basketball sectional schedule

Class 4A

Sectional 15 at Floyd Central

Tuesday: Jennings County vs. Floyd Central, 6; BNL vs. Seymour, 7:30

Friday: New Albany vs. Jennings County-Floyd Central winner, 6; Jeffersonville vs. BNL-Seymour winner, 7:30

Saturday: Final at 7:30

Class 3A

Sectional 30 at Corydon

Tuesday: North Harrison vs. Silver Creek, 7

Wednesday: Brownstown vs. Scottsburg, 6; Charlestown vs. Salem, 7:30

Friday: Corydon vs. North Harrison-Silver Creek winner, 6

Saturday: Final at 7

Class 2A

Sectional 46 at Providence

Tuesday: Crawford County vs. Eastern Pekin, 6; Providence vs. Henryville, 7:30

Friday: Paoli vs. Crawford County-Eastern Pekin winner, 6; Clarksville vs. Providence-Henryville winner, 7:30

Saturday: Final at 6

Sectional 45 at Austin

Tuesday: Austin vs. Milan, 6; South Ripley vs. Switzerland County, 8

Friday: North Decatur vs. Austin-Milan winner, 6; Southwestern vs. South Ripley-Switzerland County winner, 8

Saturday: Final at 7

Class 1A

Sectional 61 at Orleans

Tuesday: Crothersville vs. Trinity Lutheran, 6; West Washington vs. Borden, 7:30

Friday: Orleans vs. Crothersville-Trinity Lutheran winner, 6; Medora vs. West Washington-Borden winner, 7:30

Saturday: Final at 7:30

Sectional 62 at New Washington

Tuesday: Christian Academy of Indiana vs. New Washington, 6; Shawe Memorial vs. Rock Creek, 7:30

Friday: Lanesville vs. CAI-New Washington winner, 6; South Central vs. Shawe Memorial-Rock Creek winner

Saturday: Final at 7:30