Girls win, 48-38; Boys win, 73-64
Courtesy Richard Dickerson, Fireside Guard basketball correspondent
The 2023-24 Harrisburg and Hallsville basketball seasons kicked off with new rules and a goodbye to an old foe Tuesday, November 21 as the Indians travelled to Coach Combs Court. Clara Quintana registered the first points of the season for the Lady Indians. Addy Daly and Haley Martin join Quintana opening an early 6-0 lead. It wasn’t until late in the 2nd quarter before the crowd got to see the new free throw rules in action. No longer is there a 1 & 1 shooting attempt after the 7th foul in a half. Boys and Girls basketball will now play quarters and the bonus will be 2 shots after the 5th team foul. Team fouls will reset at the end of each quarter. The purpose for the change is to speed game play at the end of the game and discourage the fouling to stop clock. The Lady Indians would take a 21-14 lead into halftime. Quintana would be the first on the board again to open the 3rd period. Each team seemed to find better footing in the 3rd pushing the score out to a 37-27 Hallsville lead to start the 4th. Harrisburg would quickly close the gap to just 2 scores within 3 minutes, now 38-34. The two teams would trade points keeping that 4 point margin in tact until late in the quarter Brianne Wildenhain would drain a 3-pointer opening the gap to 9 and the Lady Indians would close out with a final 48-40 win over the Lady Bulldogs. Just before the Indians were announced Superintendent of Harrisburg School District, Steve Combs recognized Hallsville Athletic Director Brad Blakemore for his years of service as the Hallsville Girls Head Coach and A.D. “After numerous battles with the Harrisburg Bulldogs, coaching the Hallsville Girls and serving as the Activities Director for the district for the past 12 years. We want to honor Brad Blakemore who has announced his retirement after 29 years of service.” Blakemore joined Combs at mid court for a picture after the surprise announcement. Issac Stinson would start things off for Hallsville with a 3-pointer and then another 2 on the next possession. The boys would get to the new bonus threshold much faster than the girls with both squads shooting free throws with 2 minutes left in the opening quarter. Hallsville dominated most of the first half going to the locker room with a 39-30 lead. Trace Combs would sit most of the first half for Harrisburg after registering his 3rd foul early in the 2nd period. Combs would come out hot going back-to-back and closing to a 39-34 score but would soon head to the bench with foul number 4 at the 6:28 mark. Issac Stinson would lead the tribe on offense but also getting a defensive block mid-3rd quarter. Cameron Cox of Hallsville would then start ratcheting the heat up draining 3-pointers from the right wing. Combs would make it back to the floor halfway through the final period. He left the fouling behind and would turn up the scoring volume eventually scoring 35 of the Bulldogs 64 points in very limited time on court. The Indians would never trail in the opening Varsity game finishing with a 73-64 win to open the 23-24 campaign.