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How have the Harrisburg Girls Handled the Class AA Transition?

The Harrisburg Tigers won their first Class A girls basketball title last year and added a new challenge in 2013-2014.

Harrisburg moved up to Class AA this year, and finished the regular season in second place in District Two behind Washington with a 13-7 record.

The hardest part about the transition has been adjusting to the physicality of games, and traveling in the Eastern South Dakota (ESD) Conference.

“It’s been tough, but I think we’ve handled it pretty well. We’ve gotten a lot more physical and there’s better competition,” says senior point guard Alex Johnson.

” We won a couple of close games and lost a couple close games. That’s life in the ESD, a tough conference filled with good teams top to bottom,” adds first-year head coach Nick Mayer. “The travel has been getting used to. Going to Aberdeen and then to Pierre, playing two tough teams on their home floor like that have been tests for us, but they are going to make us better for this postseason run.”

Mayer is in his first-year of coaching the Tigers. Before coming to Harrisburg, he was previously at Vermillion. Six seniors (Johnson, Hailey Halling, Morgan Beaner, Morgan Darner, Hailey Axtell, and Tiara Ugofsky), and experienced underclassman have helped make his debut season a success.

Halling and Beaner are both returned All-Staters, Axtell, Ugofsky and junior Jordan Beiswanger contribute off the bench, and Johnson and junior Dani Honning start at the guard positions.

“These are veteran kids that have been around the game. They know a lot about the  game and the kids off bench give us valuable minutes for us. We’ve got a great nucleus of players and I enjoy being around them and they play hard,” adds Mayer.

The Tigers have a lot of fun on and off the court, and enjoy suiting up every night for the maroon and gold.

“They are fun to be around. They laugh, joke, but when it’s basketball time, it’s basketball time. As soon as they step off the floor, they are kids. They enjoy being around each other, they are incredibly competitive, get after it in practice, and in games, but it’s been fun to get to know these kids. You know, with six seniors on this team, they have left their mark on Harrisburg basketball and we appreciate everything they have done for program and our season isn’t done yet and we are excited to make that postseason run,” says Mayer.

Harrisburg begins postseason play this week in District Two.

Hailey Axtell, Hailey Halling, Morgan Darner, Morgan Beaner, and Tiara Ugofsky

Read More: Athlete of Week: Alex Johnson, Harrisburg | http://espn991.com/athlete-of-week-alex-johnson-harrisburg/?trackback=tsmclipHaile

 

Elisha Page/Argus Leader

“It’s been tough, but I think we’ve handled it pretty well. We’ve gotten a lot more physical and there’s better competition.

Read More: Athlete of Week: Alex Johnson, Harrisburg | http://espn991.com/athlete-of-week-alex-johnson-harrisburg/?trackback=tsmclip

“It’s been tough, but I think we’ve handled it pretty well. We’ve gotten a lot more physical and there’s better competition.

Read More: Athlete of Week: Alex Johnson, Harrisburg | http://espn991.com/athlete-of-week-alex-johnson-harrisburg/?trackback=tsmclip

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