FLORA, Ind. (WLFI) — Carroll Girls Basketball freshman Alli Harness is a laser-focused shooter in the Carroll High School practice gym. On this particular Tuesday, she’s hit 11 three pointers in a row from the corner.
No one was around to see that. Basketball practice ended in Flora 45 minutes ago.
“I usually stay after for like an hour or an hour and 30 minutes to shoot on the gun,” said the freshman sensation after a full practice. “I shoot around 400 to 500 shots every day.”
Hard work pays off.
Harness, a newcomer to the Cougar Basketball program, averages a team-high 23.8 points per game. She’s posted two double-doubles this year, and finished in double figures in 15 out of 16 total games.
Wearing the blue and white has always been a goal for her. However, the confidence that comes along with playing on varsity did not come as easily.
“I've been waiting since like second grade to put on this jersey,” said Harness, clutching her reversible practice jersey. “I was very nervous. But, I got through all the nervousness after the first two games and now I'm just really comfortable.”
With a locked in Harness, Carroll girls basketball is a force to be reckoned with. The Cougars stand at (14-2) overall this season, outscoring each opponent by an average of 22.3 points. They are undefeated (4-0) in the Hoosier Heartland Conference as well. CHS posted a program record for total points scored in a game on Monday, with a dominating win over Frontier, 101-52.
That margin of victory is significant for a team that only won four out of 23 games a mere two seasons ago. Second year head coach and Carroll alumnus Brady Wiles improved that record to an even .500 (12-12) last year.
Wiles chalks it up to a group that is focused on success. Not to mention the difficulties of playing during one of the most unpredictable seasons in sports history with the ongoing pandemic.
“To have a team that buys in and plays hard constantly with the right attitude is what means the most,” said Wiles.
According to senior guard Megan Wagner, Wiles has changed a great deal in the program. Even practice looks different each day.
“We're constantly moving,” said Wagner. “It's not just [coach] standing and talking the whole time.”
As of Tuesday, Wagner has won as many games this season as she did in her first two years combined.
Perhaps the most difficult test for the Cougars this year will be a 40 minute drive to the south this upcoming Thursday. Carroll will meet Clinton Prairie in Frankfort at 7:30pm. CP also stands at (4-0) in the Hoosier Heartland Conference, boasting a (13-1) overall record. The Cougars will be in search of their first win over the Gophers since November 29th, 2016.
Harness and the Cougars are looking far beyond Thursday’s game. She said this year, CHS is focused on winning a sectional title. CHS captured its most recent sectional championship in 2017, before losing by five to Oak Hill in the regional final.
That sectional tournament is three weeks away. Until then, you can find Alli Harness and several other Carroll Cougars in the empty Carroll Fieldhouse practice gym, long after the final whistle has blown.