Head coach Jake Stewart and company lived up to their billing as the top-ranked club in Class 2A girls basketball with a 63-26 SIRR Ohio win over Murphysboro Thursday evening at Davenport Gym.
Three Lady Bulldogs were in double figures, including senior Lotte Miller who led the way with 17 points on the night. Teammate Jessica Hopson drained four 3-pointers and finished with 14 points, while classmate Matty Hawkins scored 10.
"Overall, I know we scored a lot of points, but defense wins games, and that's what we are playing right now," said Stewart.
HHS (9-0, 2-0 SIRR Ohio) raced out to a 15-2 run to start the game and led 18-6 after the first period. The Lady Bulldogs would hold Murphysboro (6-2, 2-1 SIRR Ohio) to just a lone second quarter field goal and led 28-9 at intermission.
Harrisburg then opened the second half on an 8-4 run and coasted to a 53-20 advantage after three quarters.
Karsyn Davis added eight points for HHS. Brooke Meylor scored six, Madeline Rider added four while Essence Sanders and Lydia Miller each scored two.
Murphysboro was led in scoring by Arie Ciganovich who scored eight points. Ashley Jarrett dropped in six, and Kayla Walker scored five.
"Ciganovich and Walker are about as good as you're going to get in the south with her shooting and Walker penetrating," said Stewart. "That worried us a little bit coming in, but hats off to my kids. They defended."
Harrisburg was playing its first game since receiving the top-spot in the Associated Press 2A poll earlier in the week.
"I have a really smart group of basketball players," said Stewart. "They'll go to a game and understand things, like why certain teams do certain things. It goes with the rankings, how the regionals work, how the sectionals work, and why you go here, and they really understand that. It came out that we were number one in the state, and I've been asked a few times how we were going to handle that, with more pressure, but we've been under pressure since day one, since Oct. 31 we've been under pressure, and our kids have performed. They want to win."
Harrisburg will travel to Meridian for an approximate 5 p.m. tip-off Saturday. The Harrisburg-Meridian boys' junior varsity game will begin at 2 p.m. in Mounds. That will be followed up by a Harrisburg-Meridian boys' varsity contest prior to a varsity girls' game between the two schools.
Harrisburg 63, Murphysboro 26
Murphysboro 06 03 11 06 - 26
Harrisburg 18 10 25 10 - 63
Murphysboro (26): Dooley 0 1-2 1, Ciganovich 3 0-0 8, Hibbler-Johnson 1 1-2 4, LaBranche 1 0-0 2, Walker 2 1-4 5, Jarrett 3 0-0 6. Totals 10 3-8 26.
Harrisburg (63): Meylor 3 0-0 6, Sanders 1 0-4 2, Hawkins 4 1-2 10, Ly. Miller 1 0-0 2, Lo. Miller 7 3-3 17, Hopson 4 2-2 14, Rider 2 0-0 4, Davis 3 0-0 8. Totals: 25 6-11 63.
3-pointers: Murphysboro 3 (Ciganovich 2, Hibbler-Johnson), Harrisburg 7 (Hopson 4, Davis 2, Hawkins). Team Fouls: Murphysboro 11, Harrisburg 12. Fouled Out: Lo. Miller. Records: Murphysboro is 6-2 (2-1 SIRR Ohio), Harrisburg is 9-0 (2-0 SIRR Ohio).