Philipsburg-Osceola’s Halle Herrington is now in a league of her very own. Literally.
The Lady Mounties’ senior embraced teammates and lingered on the court Friday night after breaking Centre County’s all-time career scoring record — a mark that’s been on the books for three decades.
Herrington scored 29 points Friday to total 2,285 for her career, more than any boy or girl in county history. She surpassed Penns Valley grad Dana McDonald, who scored her 2,269th career point in 1989 and went on to star at Duke.
“Honestly, it feels pretty amazing,” Herrington said after the game, beaming from ear to ear. “It’s just another achievement, but this one’s probably one of the biggest because no one else is above me now. I have it all — and it feels pretty awesome.”
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Penns Valley (15-4) pulled away in the second quarter Friday and clinched the Mountain League title with a dominant 81-50 win. But, for many, the lingering memory Friday night won’t be the final score at the whistle but a stonefaced Herrington who broke into smiles midway through the second quarter.
After registering her 13th point on the night, Herrington and her teammates were well-aware that she needed just one more to break the record. They joked with her during the pregame, patting her on the back and reminding her she was on pace to take down McDonald’s record.
Herrington didn’t need a reminder.
During a game last month, when she reached the 2,000-point plateau, she admitted the butterflies fluttered at a faster pace. But Friday night, with history on the line? The speedy 5-foot-6 guard with the trademark white headband never harbored a doubt. She knew just what she needed.
She and her teammates counted each basket in their heads. And, needing just one more point to break the record, Herrington performed a cross-over dribble, pulled up and nailed another trey with 3:50 left in the second period.
“That one felt on, it felt perfect,” Herrington said. “It was a sigh of relief. I don’t have to worry about anything else anymore; just scoring more points and winning games.”
Herrington’s record was no secret. A handful of student fans in the bleachers rose and clapped, and the entire crowd followed. When officials stopped the game for a brief ceremony, Herrington finally let her guard down and hugged a teammate. Then she turned and high-fived another.
Her smile grew bigger as her parents walked down from the bleachers and presented her with flowers. The cheerleaders yelled, her teammates screamed, and her coach took the mic and expressed his pride.
“She just never quits; it’s always, ‘I’m going to outwork you no matter what the situation,’” P-O coach Robert Sauerwein said after the game. “That’s the mentality she has, and that’s the reason right now she’s the queen of Centre County.”
Added teammate and friend Lindsey Bordas: “She’s dedicated more to basketball than I’ve ever seen anyone dedicated to anything. She deserves this.”
Herrington’s record wasn’t just the result of natural sharp-shooting ability. Three times a week this season, she’d wake up at 4:30 a.m. and travel to State College for a workout with her trainer, then shower and drive back to Philipsburg in time for school at 7:40 a.m. Over the summer, she and Bordas would head over to the local YMCA not long after sunrise to lift and shoot around. (“She’d shoot, and I’d usually rebound,” Bordas said with a laugh.)
And, although Herrington’s name will be the one that goes into the record books, one thing Herrington and her teammates wanted to make clear was this wasn’t just Herrington’s record. It was Philipsburg-Osceola’s.
“You see how excited and how accomplished she feels, and you feel that for her,” teammate Cassidy Hughes said. “We’re excited about it too.”
Herrington was a constant presence for all four quarters Friday. In the first period, she pried away a pass from Penns Valley, then sprinted and took it back for a contested-but-made layup. In the fourth quarter, leading by double digits, she read a pass and then intercepted it like a defensive back before running for an easy layup.
Penns Valley boasted plenty of highlights too. Hannah Montminy scored a team-high 28 points, and Bella Culver added 19. But P-O fans and players didn’t exactly go home disappointed either.
For Centre County, history was made Friday night. For Herrington and Philipsburg-Osceola (9-11), it was a moment of greatness they’ll never forget.
“It feels like the hard work finally paid off,” Herrington said. “And just knowing I put in the work and all the dedication to get to this point, then anyone else can do it. If they just put the time into it, anybody can do it.”
It took 30 years for someone to step in and break McDonald’s record. And it might be a long time again before another “anybody” entertains Centre County fans like Herrington.