Experience is a big asset when taking a team into the state tournament and the Lady Goblins are familiar with playing in the final bracket.
For the second straight year, Harrison’s Lady Goblins received a bye into the quarterfinals of the Class 4A State Basketball Tournament. On Friday at 7 p.m. at Farmington High School, the Lady Goblins will begin their final run for a state championship against the winner of Nashville and Pulaski Academy.
Harrison head coach Doug Young has confidence in the girls that he will put on the floor and his senior leadership.
“Our seniors have been here before and they know what it’s all about,” Young noted about his team. “I expect them to perform at their highest level.”
The Lady Goblins have had a successful year.
After a loss to Kickapoo High School in the opening game of the season, Harrison then went on an incredible 24-game winning streak before closing out the regular season with a 74-60 loss to Farmington.
Harrison reached the finals of the Class 4A District 1 Tournament before falling to Farmington for the second time and again in the Class 4A North Region Tournament championship.
The Lady Goblins faced personnel issues early in the season but were able to overcome those setbacks and grow stronger from them.
“Losing our point guard from last year for 8 weeks was a setback,” Young responded to what struggles the team has overcome. “But the others stepped up and Mariah (Hudson) came and gave us a tremendous lift this season.”
Harrison has a strong rotation coming off the bench and coach Young sees that as one of the positives about this group.
“The balance we have and the number of people we can put on the floor that teams have to guard,” Young responded about what impresses him about the Lady Goblins. “Our defense is pretty good when we can get down and move our feet.”
The Lady Goblins will need to hit shots if they want to move on in the tournament. As a three-point shooting team the coach noted that there are nights when a team doesn’t shoot the ball very well.
Friday’s contest will need to be a productive game from the field if Harrison expects to move on.
With very few flaws that the veteran coach was concerned about, the Lady Goblins are excited about their first game in the state tournament.
“I think our morale is good and we are ready for the challenge,” said the coach. “Hey, this time of year you have to bring your “A” game every night or you go home.”
With the bye in the opening round of the tournament, it gives Harrison a break that isn’t afforded to most teams that move on in the postseason.
Last year was the same situation and Harrison won its first game in the quarterfinals before a crushing loss to Berryville in the Final Four.
Young noted that his biggest concern is the 5-day layoff since the regional finals while the other teams have a game under their belt.
The coach finished with his admiration of his team, “They have been a great group to go out on.”