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Basketball squad wins season opener

It may have taken Harrison a little time to find its rhythm in the season opener, but when the Huskies finally hit their stride, the results were undeniable. Squaring off against Nanuet on Dec. 4, Harrison put together a strong second half to rally past the Golden Knights and start the season with a 56-45 victory.

Trailing by four points at halftime it was Harrison’s commitment to defense that fueled a spirited comeback, as the Huskies ratcheted up the on-ball pressure to force key Nanuet turnovers in the second half. With the game tied at 36-36 after three quarters of play, Harrison surged in the final stanza, outscoring the visitors by 11 points to put the game away.

Alex Siapanides looks to create his shot against Nanuet on Dec. 4. Siapanides led Harrison with 11 points.

“We were struggling in the beginning and we talked at halftime saying we needed to dig in on defense and the offense will come off that,” head coach Gary Chiarella said. “We came out, we got stops, we switched from man-to-man to zone, and that helped us out.

The Huskies’ balanced offensive effort was led by Alex Siapanides, who posted a team-high 11 points on the night. Siapanides emerged as one of Section I’s best perimeter shooters last season, draining 63 shots from behind the arc. He hit three three-pointers on Tuesday, and Chiarella only expects his output to increase as the season moves along.

“He’s coming off football season, so it takes a bit of time, and he didn’t really start to heat up until January last year,” he said. “But you saw tonight he was able to contribute in other ways with his inside game as well.”

Michael Plotkin added 10 points for the Huskies and sophomore guard Will DeLuca had eight. Nanuet was paced by Justin Haught, who led all scorers with 17.

Chiarella admitted that some off-season rust played a role in his team’s slow start against Nanuet, and with several players getting their first taste of varsity experience early in the season, he expects to continue to tinker with rotations as the Huskies look for a winning recipe.

“We’re still looking for the right combinations,” Chiarella said. “Even some of the 12th graders were a bit jittery, but we overcame those nerves, we settled down and it all started to come together.”

Harrison will take part in the annual White Plains Showcase on Dec. 7, before heading up north to take on Albertus Magnus on Dec. 11. The Huskies will also host the first round of the annual Harrison Holiday Tournament next Thursday, when they take on league foe Eastchester at 7 p.m.

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