HARRISON – Harrison head coach Louis Kail knew exactly what he was doing when he loaded up his girls basketball team’s schedule this season with stiff competition, which was probably why he wasn’t as dejected as most coaches would be riding a four-game losing streak.
“We said in the beginning of the season, ‘Fully loaded, we can really compete in Class A,’ and we loaded our schedule appropriately,” he said after a 68-63 win over Eastchester on Wednesday. “We knew when we chart out our season quarter-by-quarter, that second quarter with Irvington, North Rockland and all those teams was going to be our toughest run, and we took something away from it.
“I don’t think we win this game tonight without battling through those games.”
The Huskies opened the season with a 7-1 record before hitting their four-game skid. Harrison is still without starter Jess Scazzero, who is nursing a bone chip in her ankle, but Wednesday’s win showed the team could be back on track.
“It’s a really big confidence booster,” said Huskies sophomore point guard Avery LaBarbera, who scored a game-high 30 points. “Eastchester is a very good team, and for us to come in and beat them after a four-game losing streak is an amazing feeling.”
Harrison jumped out to a 21-7 lead through one quarter following LaBarbera’s first of two buzzer-beating 3-pointers, but relinquished the lead before the end of the half. Eastchester held a two-point lead in the final seconds before LaBarbera beat the horn again to give Harrison a lead heading into the break.
“Eastchester is a great team, you know they’re going to come back,” Kail said. “I think we were holding in a lot of emotions — we haven’t played in a couple days, we’ve had some tough practices — and then everyone kind of settled in.”
The bulk of Eastchester’s comeback could be attributed to Cassidy Mitchell, who scored 12 of her 15 first-half points in the second quarter.
Harrison and Eastchester are just two teams in an ocean-deep Class A field that will be vying for the four spots in the Section 1 semifinals at the County Center. The Journal News had Eastchester and Harrison ranked eighth and 10th in the class, respectively, entering Wednesday’s rendezvous.