A familiar face has returned to Geneva and she’ll have a lot of weapons at her disposal during the 2023-2024 season.
Emily Harriman, a standout for the Eagles from 2015-2018, enters her first season as head coach with four returning starters from a squad that finished 7-13 last winter.
“The energy that the girls are bringing into practice every day has been amazing,” Harriman said. “I believe the little things, as some call them, separate an okay basketball team from a great one. Diving after loose balls, communicating, encouraging teammates, doing the extra running even when your team wins, and so much more, and that’s what I’m seeing with this squad and that is making this team look ready to go.”
Harriman played at Geneva under longtime coach Nancy Barbo, who won over 300 games in her career.
She’ll use a lot of the same strategies Barbo employed to make the most of her team’s strengths.
“A strength of ours is definitely our ability to play fast,” Harriman said. “We can push the tempo when we want to and we have a great group of returners who all have a ton of experience and have been playing with each other for years. Our chemistry is already high at the beginning of the season so I can’t wait to watch it continue to grow. “
The Eagles won’t be without their challenges as the entire coaching staff is new, which means new game plans, new drills, new ways of developing the team’s culture, and so much more.
“We have a whole new coaching staff this season, so the girls are learning a lot of new offensive sets, defensive sets, out of bounds plays, etc.” Harriman said. “These girls are very coachable, so they are adjusting quickly and buying into the program which is awesome to see and is great for the future!.”
Harriman has two of the Chagrin Valley Conference Lake Division’s top players at her disposal in Brooke Richmond and Delaney Marrison.
Richmond, a 5-foot-11 senior guard/forward, averaged 10.8 points last season on the way to earning first-team All-CVC, first-team all-county, and honor mention All-Ohio honors. She also was a County Player of the Year nominee.
“Brooke is the leader of this team,” Harriman said. “She is the type of player that we can rely on for both offense and defense. If we need a point she will step up and score and if we need a stop, she will do everything she can to try to get one. She has had a wonderful three years, but I believe her senior year will be her very best season yet. She makes others around her better as basketball players and people. She brings an energy with her each day that is contagious. No doubt in my mind that she could be a Player of the Year candidate.”
Marrison, a 5-foot-9 senior guard, averaged 5.96 points per game and earned honorable mention all-district honors despite missing several games with an injury.
“Delaney is a true joy to be around,” Harriman said. “She never dwells on a bad play and always moves on to the next one. She is the player every coach hopes to have. Coachable, fun, offensively skilled, defensively skilled, and a true leader to her team and the younger girls around her. She hasn’t been healthy the past three years, but a healthy Delaney is a dangerous one on the court and she has done a wonderful job preparing to make her senior season her best one yet.”
Rounding out the projected starting lineup are senior Moharrah Jackson, junior Emily Buck, and sophomore Tahkayah Myers.
Jackson is a 5-foot-4 guard who scored 3.8 points per game last season.
“If there is a loose ball on the ground, I will put my money on Moharrah every single time,” Harriman said. “We often refer to her as a pit bull. She plays with a swagger and if she has a task in her mind, she will do everything to complete it. She brings the energy every play and she is a key leader on our team. I expect big things from her in her senior season and I know that she will rise to the occasion, and I cannot wait to watch her stand out this year.”
Buck, a 6-foot-2 forward, averaged 4.22 points per game last season and will help the Eagles dominate under the glass.
“Emily brings a huge presence to the paint and is very skilled,” Harriman said. “She comes ready and focused each day and it is being reflected in her game. She is improving each day, and she will be a key contributor to our team this year and we are so lucky to have her on our team and I think she will surprise a lot of people this year.”
Myers, a 5-foot-4 point guard, had a breakout season as a freshman with eight points per game on the way to earning honorable mention all-district honors.
“Takayah is so good that I often have to remind myself that she is only a sophomore,” Harriman said. “If she isn’t at our basketball practice, there is a good chance she is playing basketball at home outside. She is truly in love with the sport, and it shows in her game. She truly puts in the work every single day and she expects greatness out of herself. She is quick, fierce, and tiny but powerful, and I cannot wait to see her impact on the team this year. She will be a key factor in our offensive sets and defensive sets.”
Geneva’s depth will come from juniors Lexie Besco, Julianna Chambers, and Addy Reece, sophomore Avery Clark, and freshman Isabella Ferrante.
Besco is a 5-foot-7 junior, Chambers is a 6-foot-1 forward, and Reece is a 5-foot-4 guard.
“Lexi is a light on the team. Her attitude is contagious to all around her. She will step up and complete whatever role you ask her to fill. There are many ups and downs during basketball season and she is the type of player that I can trust and rely on to bring up her teammates during the rough patches. She will impact the team in many areas this season and I cannot wait to watch her continue to grow this year,” Harriman said. “Julianna brings the presence we need in the paint. We will rely heavily on her rebounding abilities this year and her ability to finish around the basket. I believe Julianna will also surprise a lot of people this season. She keeps getting better and better. Addy shows up every day with a ‘ready’ attitude. She is ready to bring whatever is needed of her. If I need an energy boost on the court, I can count on her to go into the game and bring it. If I need someone to drive to the basket and create, I can count on her. She has developed her offensive skills immensely and I am so excited to see what she does this year. She is a true ‘hustle’ player who plays the game with her whole heart.”
Clark is a 5-foot-10 forward/guard while Ferrante is a 5-foot-2 guard.
“Avery brings so much athleticism to our team. She can play any position and is always ready to go when her name is called upon. She has so much potential and continues to get better each day. She is only a sophomore so the sky’s the limit for her,” Harriman said. “Bella is young but will be used during the varsity level. If a stop is needed on the defensive end, she is the girl that I can call upon. Her feet are so quick, and she is a tenacious defender who can apply ball pressure, and cause turnovers. Bella makes others around her laugh every single day and fills our gym with a positive energy.”
Harriman is confident she has the combination of talent, experience, and depth to make a run at the CVC Lake Division title and more.
“We believe we can really compete in the conference this year and make a run at it,” she said. “We have been talking about the traditions and legacy that Geneva basketball is and always has been. Being a part of this program is something special and the girls are buying into that.”
To achieve their goals, the Eagles will have to play the same way their new coach did during her four-year Geneva career.
The Eagles will need to play intensely and fight for every loose ball while finding the right mix on the offensive end of the court.
“We have a variety of players who can score the basketball and in many different ways,” Harriman said. “I believe our key to victory this season will be playing hard core gritty defense and getting stops. We have an athletic and fast team so we can play aggressively and get steals and stops.”