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Dunkle, Huskies hold off Edison girls, win first game

Harrison Central's McKayla Dunkle and Edison's Alayna Meadows battle for a rebound during Wednesday's contest. Also shown is Edison's Emma Scott. -Joe Catullo

RICHMOND — Junior forward McKayla Dunkle is the engine that runs the Harrison Central girls basketball team, and opponents always will circle her as the No. 1 Husky to contain.

Dunkle did not have her best night Wednesday in terms of scoring, but she helped slow down Edison in the other departments. She produced seven points, a game-high 18 rebounds and five assists during the Huskies’ 46-42 victory, their first this season.

“She’s a good player. Part of your game plan has to be to get her into foul trouble,” Edison head coach Mark Smyth said. “If you can get her off the floor, that’ll definitely help you in being successful.”

With Harrison Central leading 26-10 at halftime, the Wildcats (0-2) came out and tagged Dunkle with her fourth foul early in the third. She sat the rest of the quarter and had to watch Edison sprint to a 14-1 scoring run, cutting the deficit to 34-33 by the end of the period.

“I didn’t want to take the chance of leaving her in there,” Harrison Central head coach Nick Yourkovich said. “We haven’t really played without her a lot in the last three years. She’s been on the floor for about 90 percent of the minutes since she was a freshman. Without her out there, we definitely needed girls to step up.”

Harrison Central's Mackenzie Harbold is fouled by Edison's Alysea Fiedorczyk. -Joe Catullo

Dunkle played the entire fourth quarter and did not commit a fifth foul. On the flip side, Edison junior Alyana Meadows fouled out early, and her absence was felt. She only produced two points but grabbed 11 boards and was a bruiser all night long.

“Alayna played her butt off. She dominated the boards and plays fantastic defense,” Smyth said. “She’s going to become a scorer for us, and it definitely hurt when she had to come out.”

The Huskies (1-1) did just enough to never lose their lead and hang on despite a late surge from Edison.

Junior Alysea Fiedorczyk nailed a 3-pointer with 1:13 remaining to cut the score to 45-39. With 22.4 seconds left, she hit three free throws after being fouled behind the 3-point line. She had a chance to cut the deficit even further, but three Huskies surrounded her with 7 seconds left and forced a miss 3.

Fiedorczyk finished with a game-high 16 points, three rebounds and two assists.

Harrison Central's Audrey Corder drives with Edison's Pam Johnson and Alysea Fiedorczyk in range. -Joe Catullo

“We had a little bit of a gut check there. It’s one of those things where you don’t know if your girls will be able to respond to that or not until it actually happens,” Yourkovich said. “We were comfortable early, then they made their run and, to be frank, they deserved to win. I don’t want to leave here with anyone thinking we deserved to win this basketball game. We were fortunate to get up like we did in the first half and then be able to find something in us to pull off just enough buckets in the end.”

Although Dunkle struggled shooting — especially in the second half where she scored just one point — senior Audrey Corder answered the call. She finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

“If it wasn’t for her in the first half, this game is a completely different story,” Yourkovich said. “She was very aggressive on the boards and offensively. Without her, we don’t win this basketball game. Kudos to her, especially coming off a season-long injury after tearing her ACL in her sophomore year.”

Senior Britton Positano had eight points, six rebounds and three dimes for the Huskies. Sophomore Mackenzie Harbold chipped in seven points and seven boards. Harrison Central grabbed 53 rebounds overall, compared to 48 for the Wildcats.

“I believe they were a lot more physical than us,” Yourkovich said. “That’s something we’ve been trying to preach since last winter. We tried to hit the weight room and tried to get that mentality in them. We were losing a lot of handles on rebounds.”

Edison's Savanna Ankrom attempts a 3-point shot. -Joe Catullo

Edison sophomore Olivia Huff also had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Junior Savanna Ankrom had five points, eight rebounds and four assists.

“Our girls came out and played really hard in the second half,” Smyth said. “We switched up our defense, and they got after it. Effort and physicality were there.

“I think we got good looks. We have to work on finishing some buckets, and that’s all. It is what it is. They just didn’t go in.”

FRESH OFF DEFEATS

Both squads entered Wednesday’s contest after season-opening defeats on Monday.

Harrison Central, originally scheduled to face Toronto (who shut down operations due to COVID-19) Wednesday, dropped a heartbreaking 58-53 overtime defeat at Claymont.

“I think we’re trying to find our feet. I think we know what we want to do,” Yourkovich said. “(Wednesday) was different than Monday. We executed really well on Monday and didn’t so much (Wednesday). I think we’re still figuring out what pace and tempo we have to play at. They know what to do and what’s expected of them.”

As for the Wildcats, they had no answers in an 84-29 home defeat to Indian Creek. They did play much better on Wednesday, but that is not good enough in Smyth’s first season as head coach.

“I am never going to be satisfied with losing. I’m definitely not a person that will not be okay with losing,” he said. “If we want Edison to get back where it used to be and where it should be, we have to win these games. But, hey, full credit to Harrison Central. They played really well, coached a great game and have a fantastic team.”

LIGHTS OUT

The game started at 8 p.m., roughly one hour from the original start time due to a power outage. A total of three outages occurred during the jayvee contest, with the first two lasting just a few seconds. The final lasted a little more than an hour and began early in the fourth quarter.

JAYVEE CONTEST

In the shortened JV game, Harrison Central won, 36-23. Angi Ferri led the Huskies with 15 points, while Edison’s Pressley Meadows had seven.

UP NEXT

Both teams are TBA.

Harrison Central 46, Edison 42

Harrison 11 15 12 12 — 46

Edison 4 6 23 9 — 42

HARRISON CENTRAL (1-1): Dunkle 3 1-4 7; Harbold 2 3-5 7; Butler 3 0-2 6; Positano 2 2-4 8; Corder 6 1-2 14; Beadling 1 0-0 2; Ferri 0 0-0 0; Fischer 1 0-0 2; Goudy 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 18, 7-17: 46.

EDISON (0-2): Fiedorczyk 5 3-6 16; Johnson 1 2-2 5; Meadows 1 0-2 2; Ankrom 1 2-3 5; Huff 3 3-4 10; Scott 0 2-2 2; Smith 0 0-0 0; Brown 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 12, 12-19: 42.

3-POINT GOAL: Harrison Central 3 (Positano 2, Corder); Edison 6 (Fiedorczyk 3, Johnson, Ankrom, Huff). REBOUNDS: Harrison Central 53 (Dunkle 18, Corder 10); Edison 48 (Meadows 11, Huff 10). ASSISTS: Harrison Central 9 (Dunkle 5); Edison 8 (Ankrom 4). TURNOVERS: Harrison Central 22; Edison 22.

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