Ursuline girls’ & Harris on verge of another big season

Canton McKinley faces the Irish in the lidlifter.

Ursuline Irish high school basketball

2017-18 Ursuline Girls’ Basketball Preview
Head Coach: Vannessa Dickson
Record: 16-11

More:High School Basketball previews from other teams

The Good News
Ursuline’s junior class returns with much fanfare. Dayshanette Harris, Anyah Curd, Lindsay Bell and Destiny Goodnight all played significant roles last year on a team which won the District Championship. “Dayshanette (27.8 ppg, 6.9 rpg) – who has already surpassed the 1,000 point mark as a sophomore – has always been a standout student-athlete for us,” says coach Vannessa Dickson. Harris also led the team in assists (4.7) and steals (3.9) a year ago. “We’re also expecting a huge impact to be made by post players Anyah (Curd) and Lindsay (Bell),” Dickson indicates. “They’ve taken the initiative to get better in the off-season and their skills are looking more refined by the day.” Curd scored 6.8 points, hauled down a team-high 8.8 rebounds and blocked 2.1 shots per game. Bell averaged 3.7 points and finished third on the team in rebounding (6.5). “Destiny (Goodnight) will bring her three-point shooting ability to the court and will be a key offensive threat,” Dickson comments. “Nomiki Willis will also be a vital role in our future success. She began last season as our seventh man, and gradually worked her way into the starting lineup by tournament time. We’re expecting her to have a breakout season in her second year playing varsity basketball.” A group of freshmen to watch for are Anisah Moorman, Rachel Fabry, and Jamie Nelson.

Dickson also points out her team’s strengths to be, “our ability to push the ball up the court, while also having a sufficient team IQ to execute offensively in the half-court. Last season, we did an outstanding job of handling the ball and reducing turnovers to nearly 10 or less per game. With Dayshanette, in addition to all other returners and incoming freshman, our future success will rely heavily on our offensive execution and defensive capabilities.”

2017-18 Schedule
Nov. 24 – at Canton McKinley, 7
Dec. 5 – Imani Christian, 7:30
Dec. 9 – St. Vincent-St. Mary, 1:30
Dec. 11 – St. Thomas Aquinas, 7
Dec. 13 – Mooney, 7
Dec. 16 – Newton Falls, 1:30
Dec. 20 – Shaw, 7
Dec. 23 – at Cornerstone Christian, 7:30
Dec. 29 – at Farrell Tournament
Dec. 30 – at Farrell Tournament
Jan. 5 – vs. Coventry (at Lake Center Tournament), 6
Jan. 6 – at Lake Center Tournament
Jan. 11 – at South Range, 7
Jan. 13 – Classic in the Country at Berlin Hiland
Jan. 17 – at Hoban, 7
Jan. 20 – at Gilmour Academy, 2:30
Jan. 24 – East, 7
Jan. 27 – at Hathaway-Brown, 6:30
Feb. 1 – Canton Central Catholic, 7
Feb. 5 – South Range, 7
Feb. 9 – at Villa Maria, 7:30
Feb. 14 – at Boardman, 7

Challenges
The team lost key contributor Simone Comer – who averaged 14.8 points per game a year ago – to graduation. Coach Dickson views her team’s flaw so far in the off-season as, “our inability to make defensive stops in the half-court. Balancing four quarters of a game has always been somewhat difficult for us, but each season we have progressively gotten closer to meeting our goals and keeping our key players out of foul trouble. Overall, our free-throw percentage has been another barrier to our success; however, we plan to incorporate a new strategy and focused drills to drastically improve in that area as it was the key contributor to some of the losses we faced this past season.”

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