The Harrison Huskies faced a daunting test on Jan. 15, as the Class A Huskies hosted a larger Class AA Mamaroneck squad that had rattled off 10 straight wins to start the winter season. But a strong defensive effort and some timely shooting propelled the underdogs to a signature win, as a strong second half for the Huskies helped them to edge the Tigers 40-36.
After allowing a 7-0 run to start the game, Harrison did not hold a lead until the start of the fourth quarter, when the team’s on-ball pressure and sharp-shooting from beyond the arc helped them to turn the tide against a larger, more experienced, Mamaroneck ballclub.
Junior Josh Cooper hit the dagger with 16 seconds left, burying a frantic three-pointer as the shot clock expired to give the Huskies a four-point lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.
“I was just trying to get a shot off,” Cooper said. “I saw my teammate pivot, look to get the ball to me, and I just shot.”
Cooper had six points—all of which came on second half three-pointers— but it proved to be a true team effort for the Huskies offensively, as sophomore Will DeLuca paced the team with eight points. Gavin Zinghini, Will Sarkozi, and Tommy Martin all tallied eight points for Mamaroneck, which struggled at times to crack the tenacious Huskies’ defense.
“Our defense was the difference-maker, we only gave up 36 points,” said Cooper. “We were playing tight on the offense, and even if it didn’t always go well, at the end we were making them miss shots.”
Harrison head coach Gary Chiarella was also impressed with the way his team was able to withstand the Tigers’ zone press, especially to start the second half.
“Almost as big as the defensive effort was our ability to break the press,” Chiarella said. “If we let that bother us, we wouldn’t have won that game, we would have gone down by five or seven and there’s no coming back from that the way we were shooting at the time.”
Despite their strong start to the season, the Tigers have struggled down the stretch, dropping their last three games to fall to 10-3 on the year. They host the annual Tiger Tournament this weekend before matching up against league foes Mount Vernon and Scarsdale next week.
The Huskies improved to 5-7 with the victory and are riding a two-game win streak heading into a showdown with Gorton on Jan. 18. Chiarella hopes that Tuesday’s showing against the Tigers will lead to bigger things over the final eight games of the regular season.
“It’s the confidence in the kids; in the beginning of the year I don’t think we were so confident but when you win these types of games and you’re getting better every day, the confidence comes around,” said the head coach. “Once in a while you’ll see a kid lose that and play timid, but tonight we proved that we can play with one of the best AA teams around.”