Any time Harrison and Rye lock horns, regardless of the sport, area fans are generally primed for an exciting showdown. On Jan. 11, a tilt between the two girls’ basketball teams did not disappoint, as the visiting Huskies won a back-and-forth game, edging a solid Garnets’ team 52-48.
Despite controlling the game throughout the first half, Harrison fell prey to a Garnets’ rally in the third quarter and headed into the final stanza of play trailing 38-35. But a strong fourth quarter led by a stellar performance from Huskies’ standout Avery LaBarbera, who finished with a game-high 28 points and 14 rebounds, was enough for Harrison to improve to 6-4 on the year.
LaBarbera missed four games with a knee injury she sustained in early December, but has come on strong since her return, netting 48 points in two contests this week as the Huskies have won six of their last seven games.
Harrison coach Louis Kail said that the team’s early season struggles may even be the catalyst for the Huskies’ recent success.
“We’ve been in this situation before,” he said. “We’ve battled through adversity, through sickness, through injuries all season long, and tonight they just kind of settled in and won a basketball game.”
The Garnets, who came into the game riding an eight-game winning streak, dropped to 8-2. Sophomore Teaghan Flaherty, who has emerged as the top offensive threat this year, led the team with 22 points, but was sidelined for stretches in the second half with four fouls. In her absence, freshman Amanda Latkany spurred a solid Garnet effort with 12 points.
“Anytime you take a player like Teaghan, who’s a prolific scorer, out of the game, it changes the complexion, because it’s tough to play with foul trouble,” Kail said. “But you have to hand it to the rest of the Rye team, they handled it really well.”
Rye will look to bounce back from the loss with a strong performance against Class AA Ursuline on Saturday, Jan. 13, while the Huskies will have a few days off before they host Ardsley on Wednesday, Jan. 17. According to Kail, they will hope to build on the momentum of the rivalry win as they look to improve their playoff standing during the second half of the season.
“It’s definitely huge,” he said. “Any time you have Rye versus Harrison, it’s a good game, so it’s nice to get a win against them.”