Girls Basketball: Tecumseh’s Harness named Pam Evans Smith Miss Basketball

Cutline: Tecumseh High School senior Terah Harness shoots the ball over Centerville's Kendal George during their Division I district semifinal game at the Vandalia Butler Student Activity Center earlier this year. Harness was named the Pam Evans Smith Miss Basketball award winner this season. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MICHAEL COOPER
Cutline: Tecumseh High School senior Terah Harness shoots the ball over Centerville's Kendal George during their Division I district semifinal game at the Vandalia Butler Student Activity Center earlier this year. Harness was named the Pam Evans Smith Miss Basketball award winner this season. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MICHAEL COOPER

Credit: Michael Cooper

Credit: Michael Cooper

SPRINGFIELD — Terah Harness grew up watching former Tecumseh High School greats Bianca Quisenberry and Lindsey Nartker hoping to some day follow in their footsteps.

Now, Harness will be remembered amongst the greatest players in Tecumseh program history. The senior was recently named Pam Evans Smith Miss Basketball by a vote of coaches in Clark County.

“It’s amazing,” Harness said. “I watched them and I always looked up to them. I watched their games and they were always big inspirations to me. To follow in their footsteps and win this is so important to me in every single kind of way. It’s just amazing.”

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Harness was joined on the All-Clark County team by Tecumseh teammates Makenzie Chinn and Mae Mastin, Catholic Central’s Serenity Castle, Mallory Mullen and Abbigail Peterson, Kenton Ridge’s Megan Freeman, Greenon’s Claire Henry, Southeastern’s Lily Hudson and Northwestern’s Alainee Risner. Catholic Central coach Brandon Peterson won the Coach of the Year award for the second time in three seasons.

Shawnee’s Zoe Ballard and Southeastern coach Matt Harner received the Sportsmanship Award handed out by the Southwest Ohio Officials Association.

Harness led the Central Buckeye Conference in scoring at 17.6 points per game and also averaged 8.0 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 3.0 steals and 2.1 blocks per game this winter, culminating in Clark County’s top honor. She’s the fourth Tecumseh player to win the award since the program began in 1989, joining three-time winner Quisenberry, Nartker and Cindy Cremeans.

“I never thought I would (win the award),” Harness said. “I’ve played basketball my whole life and this is always something I’ve worked towards, so it’s exciting to see all my hard work pay off.”

The Arrows went 18-6 this season, earning a share of the CBC Kenton Trail Division title with Jonathan Alder. It was Tecumseh’s third league title in four years. They set their sights on reclaiming the league title after falling just short during Harness’ junior season.

“It was definitely our goal,” Harness said. “We knew we wanted it and nothing could get in our way. It was a team effort and everybody contributed in their own way. I’m super proud of the girls. I’m excited I got to play my last season with them.”

Harness also achieved another goal this year — signing to play Division I college basketball. She’ll continue her career at South Carolina Upstate, a member of the Big South Conference, next season.

“The work starts now,” Harness said. “I’m definitely not done. I’ve got to work.”

She thanked her coaches and teammates for all the hard work they put in throughout the season.

“I’m just super proud,” Harness said. “I think we had an awesome team and I finished my senior year on a good note with girls that I loved playing with. I absolutely loved it. It was awesome.”

Brandon Peterson helped the Irish win their first Ohio Heritage Conference South Division title since joining the conference in 2001.

“It’s an amazing feeling to be recognized by the coaches and to be able to promote the excellence we’re trying to pursue with the Lady Irish basketball team, it was a great feeling,” he said.

After finishing second each of the previous two seasons, the Irish wanted nothing more than to win the OHC South Division title. They beat Greenon 31-30 on Feb. 6 to clinch at least a share of the title and later won the outright championship.

“With this being a season with COVID and being ready to adjust on the fly, it was a super, super resilient and coachable team,” Peterson said. “I’m more than proud for them to be a part of history. It’s been a dream come true for the staff and the players.”

Peterson thanked the administration, including Catholic Central President Michael Raiff and Athletic Director Jon Metzger, and his coaching staff of Mike Brown, Matt Mullen, Katy Saunders, Moses Peterson, Jr. and Randy Smoot for their efforts this season.

“I require a lot out of them and they’ve just been so supportive of me and my vision, including (Raiff and Metzger),” Brandon Peterson said. “Whatever I’ve needed, they’ve come through and that has a lot to do with our success. It takes a lot of stress away when you have a good team around you and I’m just blessed to have them on the team.”

The Irish will soon get back to work on defending their title. They’ll graduate three seniors, including Catholic Central’s all-time leading scorer Abbigail Peterson, but return four starters — juniors Mallory Mullen, Castle and Meghan Foster and junior Jordyn Smoot.

“We’ll give them a little break and get back into the gym,” Brandon Peterson said. “After our last game, I told them it starts now. Mentally, we’ve got to stay focused after getting our bodies rested a little bit. We’ve got to stay focused because it’s going to get harder. They have an amazing opportunity to repeat. As we’ve done the last six years, we’ll be ready to start early.”

2020-21 All-Clark County Girls Basketball Team

Serenity Castle, Catholic Central: The junior averaged 11.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.0 steals and 3.1 assists per game for the Irish.

Makenzie Chinn, Tecumseh: The junior led the CBC at 5.4 steals per game and also averaged 12.5 points and 4.5 assists per game for the Arrows.

Tahjie’ Clark-Crowley, Springfield: The Wildcats freshman ranked among the Greater Western Ohio Conference leaders at 7.7 rebounds per game.

Megan Freeman, Kenton Ridge: The senior led the CBC in rebounding at 12.1 per game and also averaged 10.1 points per game for the Cougars.

Terah Harness, Tecumseh: The senior led the CBC in scoring at 17.6 points per game and also averaged 8.0 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 3.0 steals and 2.1 blocks per game this winter.

Claire Henry, Greenon: The sophomore averaged 11.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists for the Knights this season.

Lily Hudson, Southeastern: The junior averaged 9.3 points and 7.1 rebounds per game for the Trojans.

Mae Mastin, Tecumseh: The junior averaged 12.5 points, 3.8 assists, 3.6 steals and led the CBC in free throw percentage (85.4 percent).

Mallory Mullen, Catholic Central: The junior post averaged 13.6 points and 13.7 rebounds, shooting 61.5 percent from the field.

Abbigail Peterson, Catholic Central: The senior averaged 15.9 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game this season and finished her career as the Irish’s all-time leading scorer.

Alainee Risner, Northwestern: The sophomore averaged 8.5 points and 8.9 rebounds per game for the Warriors.

Pam Evans Smith Miss Basketball Award: Terah Harness, Tecumseh

Coach of the Year: Brandon Peterson, Catholic Central

Greater Springfield Basketball Officials Association

Sportsmanship Awards

Player: Zoe Ballard, Shawnee

Coach: Matt Harner, Cedarville

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