By Rob Ketcham
The Cullman Times
Most high school basketball players are never fortunate enough to reach 1,000 points throughout the entirety of their four-year careers.
Hanceville's Brontae Harris didn't even take two seasons to join the elite club, however, cracking quadruple digits early in Tuesday night's 56-33 road victory against Cordova.
The sophomore sensation, who entered the contest with 999 career points, was sent to the free-throw line just 40 seconds in after a Blue Devil hooked his arm on a short jumper. With four figures staring him straight in the face, Harris stepped up to the charity stripe, launched his attempt and finished the sequence in his usual silky-smooth follow-up pose.
He stood completely still as the ball hit the back of the rim and started rolling, rotating around not once, but twice, before dropping in.
“I was real nervous when I went to the line. I tried to act like I wasn't, but I really was,” the sophomore confided with a sly smile. “That 1,000th point, I've been trying to get it forever, and I finally got it.”
Harris was far from finished after conquering his goal. He wound up hitting five 3-pointers and scoring a game-high 24 points before heading to the bench early in the fourth quarter with the game already out of hand. Harris' final basket was an effortless running jumper that never had a chance of touching anything but net.
“We've had some athletes that probably jump higher, defend better and maybe have more speed, but since I've been at Hanceville, there's nobody that can just put the ball in the hole like he can,” coach Daniel Wakefield said. “He's just a scorer. That's what comes natural to him. To be a sophomore and reach 1,000 points is a big deal.”
At the end of the night, Harris was more excited about the final score than his final point total.
“If we would've won, and I wouldn't have gotten it (1,000 points), I would've been happy,” he said. “I do it all for my teammates. I just get out there, play and if I get it, I get it.”
Harris currently sits at 1,023 career points, bringing his average to 21.3 points per game through 48 contests in less than two seasons. Wakefield believes the sky is the limit, both for the superstar and the Bulldogs.
“He's just a sophomore. You hope there's a whole lot bigger things both from him as an individual and using those 1,000 points or 1,500 points or whatever he gets to to help us be a better team as well,” the coach said. “Every time he scores, it's more points for us, too. And he's our best scorer, so that's good for everybody when he's having a good night.”
With the rest of the year, as well as two full seasons to look forward to, just how high does Harris plan on taking on his point total?
3,000? Still no.
4,000? Ding ding ding.
“I think I should be able to get that my senior year,” he said with the same sly smile.
Chris Smith also cracked double digits for Hanceville, which improved to 12-8 with the win. Marshall Johnson scored six points off the bench and Dant'e Reese had five.
Other Bulldog contributors were Sheldon Lewis, four points; Tyler Tankersley and Matt Burns, two apiece; and Keith Twitty, one.
Jamaal Cooper led Cordova with 18 points.
% Cordova 51, Hanceville 28: Freshman Taylor Hollingsworth racked up 14 points, but the Bulldogs ultimately fell short in the squad's latest bid to claim their first win of the season.
Other Hanceville contributors were Taylor Chambers, six points; Brittani Armstrong, three; Constance Wren and Kristina Denham, two each; and Mariah Twitty, one.
The Blue Devils' high scorers were Alexis Cooper and Jess Willingham with nine points apiece.
% Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 257 or at email@example.com.