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Central comeback falls short against Harrisburg

Aberdeen Central’s Taryn Hettich, right, tries to drive around Brandon Valley’s Emma Jarovski, center, during Thursday’s game at the Class AA State Tournament at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls. Photo by John Davis taken 3/11/2021

SIOUX FALLS – A strong finish could not offset a slow start for Aberdeen Central Friday afternoon.

The Golden Eagles rallied from an 18-point deficit, but could never get over the hump in a 46-41 setback to Harrisburg in consolation round action from the Class AA State Girls’ Basketball Tournament at the Sanford Pentagon.

Like it did on Thursday, Central struggled out of the blocks. The Eagles managed just six points in the opening half, shooting just 14 percent. By then, Harrisburg owned a 22-6 advantage.

Central’s offense finally got going in the third quarter, but the Eagles still trailed by 13 heading into the final eight minutes.

Central pulled to within striking distance down the stretch by outscoring the Tigers 9-2. Abby Kopecky scored seven of those points and Taryn Hettich’s two free throws with 1:41 left sliced Harrisburg’s lead to 41-34.

After the two teams divided four points, the Tigers missed back-to-back free throws and when Brooklyn Kusler scored with 34.4 seconds left, the margin was down to 43-38.

However, Carolyn Harr made three straight free throws as Harrisburg rebuilt the lead back to eight. Hettich’s three-pointer with eight seconds left accounted for the final margin of difference.

Harr and Brecli Honner each scored 14 points to lead Harrisburg, which defeated Central for the second time this season.

Kopecky’s 11 points topped a balanaced scoring attack for the Eagles. Melanie Jacobs followed with 10 and Kusler finished with 9 points and 9 rebounds.

Central, 18-5 on the season, will face Rapid City Central for seventh place at noon today.

HARRISBURG (20-3): Sydney Altenburg 1 4-4 6, Emilee Boyer 2 0-1 4, Carolyn Haar 4 3-4 14, Brecli Honner 5 3-7 14, Sydney Hybertson 1 0-0 3, Hannah Eide 1 0-0 3, Jaylee Hofer 1 0-2 3. Totals 15-39 10-18 46.

ABERDEEN CENTRAL (18-5): Jordan Hermansen 2 0-0 4, Taryn Hettich 2 0-1 5, Melanie Jacobs 4 0-0 10, Abby Kopecky 5 0-0 11, Brooklyn Kusler 3 3-3 9, Karly Wellman 1 0-0 2. Totals 17-51 3-4 41.

Harrisburg 8 22 34 46

Aberdeen Central 2 6 21 41

3-point field goals – Harr 2, Honner, Eide, Hofer; Hettich, Jacobs 2, Kopecky. Total fouls – Harrisburg 11; Aberdeen Central 17. Rebounds – Harrisburg 35 (Boyer 9); Aberdeen Central 27 (Kusler 9). Turnovers – Harrisburg 15; Aberdeen Central 10. Assists – Harrisburg 7 (Harr 3); Aberdeen Central 8 (Jacobs 3). Steals – Harrisburg 3; Aberdeen Central 5 (Kusler 3).

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