High School Sports

Philipsburg-Osceola’s Halle Herrington torching area nets

Philipsburg-Osceola’s Halle Herrington dribbles around Penns Valley defenders during the Tuesday, January 24, 2017 game.
Philipsburg-Osceola’s Halle Herrington dribbles around Penns Valley defenders during the Tuesday, January 24, 2017 game. adrey@centredaily.com

It doesn’t take long for Halle Herrington to find her shot.

It can be anywhere on the court, driving the baseline, slashing down the lane, firing from the wing or stepping back for a 3-pointer. She has the touch.

And when she’s on, she can really be on.

“I am honestly surprised,” her coach, Alexis Bacher, said. “She’s stepping up big and teams are starting to realize that she is a threat.”

For most of this season for the Philipsburg-Osceola girls’ basketball team, she has been on fire.

Only twice has she been held under 20 points in a game, and she had six straight outings topping 30.

It has resulted in a 28.8 scoring average through 16 games — 461 total points. That average tops the 27 a game scored last season by State College standout Kyla Irwin.

Throw an average of 4.0 steals and 2.2 assists per game and she’s been a pretty well-rounded guard for a team with a respectable 7-9 record.

Not too bad for a sophomore, either.

“We tell her to keep shooting, keep getting by people,” Bacher said. “She knows what to do. She’s smart with the ball. She knows the game inside-out.”

Her best stretch came just before Christmas through Jan. 14, topping 30 points each time, five of them were over 35 and her high was a 43-point effort against Harmony on Dec. 27.

“They’re amazing,” Herrington said of the huge games. “Just seeing the ball go through, hitting the shots, it’s an amazing feeling.”

She has been playing since about second grade, and plays year-round. She spends her summers with the Doug West Defenders AAU program out of Altoona, and it’s also a good bet she could otherwise be found in her driveway taking on her older brother, Trentin.

And by the way, she’s not too bad on the golf course either.

She’s carded a low round of 85 over 18 holes, and she posted a 198 to finish third last fall at the District 6 Class AA championship to advance to the PIAA regionals. Her score led P-O to a third-place team finish.

During the summer her day usually starts with nine holes over at the Philipsburg Elks Club course before heading off to a basketball court somewhere. Does she spend as much time on golf as she does on basketball?

“Definitely not,” she said.

Back on the hardwood, if she had to pick a favorite shot, it would be the 3-pointer, loving the sound of the ball ripping through the net. She’s made 59 this season.

You don’t get that sound off the tee.

“This is her game,” Bacher said, comparing the sports, “and it’s obvious it’s her game.”

She certainly has grabbed the attention of opponents, who are trying to devise ways of stopping her.

Two teams have done well. Bellefonte held her to 15 points in mid-December, and earlier this week Penns Valley allowed her to score a mere 18 after hitting them a lot harder earlier in the season.

“You have to be really disciplined,” said Penns Valley’s Kourtney Beamesderfer, who was tasked with slowing the sophomore, with a lot of help from her friends. “We worked a lot in practice on switching the screens and jumping out on them so she can’t get a shot off quick.”

The Lady Rams learned from their first meeting, when Herrington used those screens to her advantage.

This past Tuesday, when she rolled around a screen, there was another hand in her face. She still launched close to 20 field goals, but made just four of them.

“Kourtney was tight on her, but she didn’t foul (Halle),” Lady Rams coach Karen McCaffrey said. “She gets to the line a lot also, so we didn’t want to put her there either.”

Herrington has noticed how much harder it is to get off good shots, compared to the first few weeks of the season.

“Ten times harder — definitely,” Herrington said. “The first half of the season it started out good. With the second half of the season, playing the same teams, they’ve noticed I was the shooter.”

She still has a lot of time left in her high school career, but she’s already looking at the horizon. She would love to play in college, and even has bigger aspirations for the WNBA.

“Always shoot for the stars,” she said with a grin.

Gordon Brunskill: 814-231-4608, @GordonCDT