Warren's Meea Irwin. File photo by Andy Close.

Harbor Creek Tops Warren Girls, Ends Chance at Dragons’ D10 3-Peat

March 2, 2023

ERIE – Harbor Creek led wire-to-wire and punched its ticket to the District 10 Class 4A title game with a 54-44 win over Warren in their semifinal on Wednesday.

The Huskies head to their first D10 title game since 2018, while the Dragons won’t be in the title game for the first time since 2020.

“We had some easy looks that we should have put in,” Warren coach Lisa LaVan said. “I mean, we always talk about layups free throws, and rebounding. That’s what wins you games this time of year, and we struggled with . . . well not rebounding, that’s for sure. We struggled with the other pieces.”

The game followed a pattern throughout, the Huskies built a big lead then the Dragons would get within a possession or two, only to see Harbor Creek pull away again.

Harbor Creek jumped out to an 11-4 advantage to start. Warren cut the lead to 11-8 with 46 seconds to play in the first quarter. The Huskies answered with 3-pointers on three consecutive possessions to go ahead 20-8.

Meea Irwin made a layup to make it 20-10 with 4:56 to play in the second quarter. Then both teams clamped down defensively as neither scored again until Sammie Ruhlman made a pair of free throws with 38 seconds left in the half.

“We know they play great defense, and we knew it was going to be a battle in that sense,” LaVan said. “But we didn’t take care of the ball. We didn’t value it as much as we should have.”

Smith answered with a layup and Ruhlman hit two more free throws to give the Huskies a 22-15 halftime advantage.

Gracie Ruhlman’s layup just over a minute into the second half cut the lead to five. Harbor Creek answered with a 6-0 run to push the advantage to 11, 28-17. Warren responded with a 6-0 run of its own to bring it back to a 5-point game.

“I think overall our press (defense) did great things,” LaVan said. “But then our press had moments of where it fell apart. And we gave them easy looks down on the block when they did beat it. And we just took a couple of gambles that we shouldn’t have taken and just did a few things. We were a little off-character from us, I feel.”

The Huskies ended the third quarter with an 8-2 run and led 36-25 going to the fourth.

Warren never got closer than within eight points the rest of the way.

“And truthfully, I mean, it comes down to decision-making on my part,” LaVan said. “I should have made some different . . . you know, hindsight, but I could have done a better job coaching tonight and I struggled with that. And I take full ownership of the fact that we didn’t get the win today. I could have made some better adjustments for sure.”

Irwin and Sammie Ruhlman each had 13 points for the Dragons, with Halle Kuzminski chipping in six.

Smith had a game-high 14 points, 10 in the second half. Elise Benim had 11 points, and Georgia Weber and Brooke Przybylski had nine each.

The Huskies will face Fairview, a 53-43 winner over Conneaut, for the D10 4A title on Saturday at a time and location to be announced.

Warren and Conneaut will square off in a third-place game on Saturday with time and location to be announced.

All four have already secured a spot in the PIAA Tournament, Saturday’s games will determine their seeding.

Basketball playoff coverage is sponsored in part by Olewine Financial Group.

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