By Nick Ruland
TWIN FALLS • With posts Mikayla Harris and Haley Hutchinson graduated from Twin Falls’ 4A state quarterfinal team last year, the Bruins came into the 2013-2014 season with a new blueprint.
The concept — a small, quick, fastbreak and pressure oriented team-would only work if junior Regan Harr played big enough on defense to stay on the floor so she could be a nightmare mismatch on offense.
“I knew we would have to step up inside,” Harr said. “We knew we wouldn’t have that type of offense from last year, so we had to figure out our own way of scoring and our own way of defense. We couldn’t just let players go past us because Mikayla wouldn’t be there.”
Harr’s range of skills made playing the power forward position an intriguing possibility, but her basketball intelligence made it work.
The daughter of one of the region’s greatest basketball coaches in Matt Harr, sister and friendly competitor of Walla Walla Community College guard and TFHS graduate Eric Harr, playing for a coaching staff adept at creative adjustments and player development, Regan Harr thrived, helping lift the Bruins beyond outside expectations and into the state championship game.
“We had a lot of guards and we didn’t have much height, so I worked on post in practice starting in conference play,” Harr said. “It wasn’t so much post moves, but I could create more because I had a bigger post on me, it was about the advantages.”
And those athletic advantages allowed Harr and teammates -including seven seniors who have played with Harr since fourth grade — to improvise on the run.
“We would be running down the court and (Kaitlyn Merritt) would say ‘cut to the left and you’ll have an open layup,” Harr said. “As we are running down the court we would make these little plays in our head and almost all the time they would work. Coaches would be like, ‘How did they do that?”
Harr averaged 12.5 points a game, but could have scored more on a less balanced team. She shot an eye-popping 51 percent on 2-point shots and 39 percent on 3s.
She’d text her brother after every game — friendly trash talk — bragging about her efficiency.
“At times I would try to compare myself to my brother, but I am someone completely different,” Harr said. “I still compare myself all the time though. We’re so competitive.”
Just as the older Eric Harr pushed her younger sister, Regan Harr pushed the group of seven seniors, who saved their best for last.
“We realized it was our last year together, we pushed each other extremely hard,” Harr said. “We fell short, but we made it to the championship. It’s bittersweet, but we exceeded what people thought we would do.