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Girls Basketball

Golden Eagle girls fall to Harrisburg on late three-point shot

Aberdeen Central’s Taryn Hermansen, center, goes after a rebound with Harrisburg’s Kayleigh Hybertson, right and Hannah Eide, far right, during Friday night’s game at the Golden Eagles Arena. At far left for the Tigers is Sadie Mehrman. Photo by John Davis taken 2/3/2023

Sadie Mehrman’s 3-pointer with 15 seconds left lifted Class AA No. 4 Harrisburg to a 40-38 Eastern South Dakota Conference girls’ basketball win over Aberdeen Central at Golden Eagles Arena Friday night.

Mehrman’s basket came after a back-and-forth fourth quarter that saw Central build a 37-33 lead with three minutes and 27 seconds left in the game. Harrisburg answered with a 7-1 run to end the game. The final period was a microcosm of the first three quarters, in which both teams kept the game close.

The first quarter ended with the Golden Eagles taking an 8-7 lead. Central center Taryn Hermansen scored the first four points for the Golden Eagles. The six-foot freshman was a dominant force in the post for Central, as Harrisburg struggled to guard her for much of the night. Central head coach Mikayla Arechigo credited Hermansen and eighth-grader Lauryn Burckhard for their presence below the basket.

“Our bigs have done a good job of improving throughout the season, and I think a lot of that is attributed to our guards as well,” Arechigo said. “They’re able to get the ball to the bigs despite being very undersized on the perimeter.”

The second quarter began with Hermansen again scoring the first four points of the quarter, although both teams struggled offensively due to aggressive defense on both ends of the floor.

With 2:06 left in the first half, the Golden Eagles suffered the loss of senior guard Taryn Hettich, who left with an injury after being fouled. Despite the loss, Central took a 20-16 lead into the locker room at halftime. Arechigo noted that the team had to adjust on the fly.

“Taryn Hettich definitely makes us go,” Arechigo said. “She is just such a spark plug and she brings such energy and communication, so having her go down it’s tough to adjust on the fly like that, but we’re a team that’s had to make adjustments all year.”

Arechigo gave credit to players such as Ayrlie Waldo, Taylor Lyke, and Lauren Joosten for stepping up when the team needed them the most, and also acknowledged the rest of her seniors for being leaders on the floor. Despite losing Hettich, the team continued to fight heading into the second half, although Harrisburg would make adjustments and turn the tide in the third quarter.

The Tigers defense clamped down on the Central post game, allowing only four points in the third quarter. Hermansen yet again provided those four points for the Golden Eagles. However, Harrisburg used a balanced attack, with four players scoring a combined 11 points in the quarter, giving the Tigers a 27-24 lead entering the final frame.

In the fourth quarter, Harrisburg extended its lead to 30-26, its largest lead of the game, before Central went on an 11-3 run to lead 37-33. Harrisburg tied the game at 37 with 1:54 remaining, before Hermansen gave the Golden Eagles a 38-37 lead on a free throw with 1:30 left. With around one minute left, Central gathered a loose ball after a missed Harrisburg three-point attempt, and seemed destined to put the game away.

However, the Golden Eagles could not convert, setting up Mehrman’s game-winning three-point shot.

Arechigo said her team was in position on the Mehrman shot.

“I was trying to make sure that we were in rebounding position, and it looked like we had it covered, but unfortunately it went in and it just didn’t go our way,” Arechigo said. “Our girls were where they needed to be, and sometimes that’s just the break that you get. All you can do is ask them to keep working hard.”

Central was led by Hermansen with 18 points, while Hettich and Waldo each had four points.

Aberdeen Central’s Ayrlie Waldo, right, puts up a shot as she drove the baseline around Harrisburg’s Kayleigh Hybertson, center, as Hannah Eide, far left, looks on during Friday night’s game at the Golden Eagles Arena. Photo by John Davis taken 2/3/2023

Harrisburg’s Jaylee Hofer scored eight points, while Hannah Eide had seven points and eight rebounds. Abigail Flanagan and Mehrman each added six points.

Arechigo noted that the team needs to continue to improve late in the season.

“We need to keep working on our rebounding,” Arechigo said. “Defensively, we are still making adjustments and when teams try different things against our defense we’re kind of going back to the drawing board and figuring out what we need to do to counteract that.”

Central (4-7) travels to Mitchell on Tuesday, while Harrisburg (11-3) hosts Tea Area on Monday.

HARRISBURG (11-3): Jaylee Hofer 3 0-0 8, Hannah Eide 3 0-0 7, Abigail Flanagan 3 0-0 6, Sadie Mehrman 2 0-0 6, Kayleigh Hybertson 1 2-2 4, Adelynn Wagner 1 0-0 3, Brynn VanBockern 1 0-0 3, Makinley Lawrenson 1 0-0 3. Totals 15-41 2-2 40.

ABERDEEN CENTRAL (4-7): Anna Malchow 1 0-0 3, Taryn Hettich 1 2-2 4, Sydney Evans 0 2-2 2, Grace Kuch 1 0-0 2, Taryn Hermansen 8 2-5 18, Lauren Joosten 1 0-0 3, Ayrlie Waldo 1 1-3 4, Lauren Burckhard 0 2-4 2. Totals 13-32 9-16 38.

Harrisburg 7 16 27 40

Aberdeen Central 8 20 24 38

3-point field goals – Hofer 2, Eide, Mehrman 2, Wagner, VanBockern, Lawrenson; Malchow, Joosten, Waldo. Total fouls – Harrisburg 16; Aberdeen Central 11. Rebounds – Harrisburg 22 (Eide 8); Aberdeen Central 27 (Evans 4, Hermansen 4). Turnovers – Harrisburg 11; Aberdeen Central 13. Assists – Harrisburg 1; Aberdeen Central 8 (Hettich 3, Evans 3). Steals – Harrisburg 5 (Hofer 3, Eide 2); Aberdeen Central 7 (Hettich 2, Joosten 2).

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