COLUMBIA — Lyle Harris wasn’t going to lose another rivalry game.
After losing a two-point game at home against Rock Bridge, he wanted at least some bragging rights over the Jefferson City Jays.
“When I came into the game tonight I was ready to win,” the senior guard said. “We lost one rivalry already. We weren’t going to lose another at home.”
Harris didn’t disappoint. Scoring 33 points on 7-10 shooting from 3-point range and 10-10 free throws, the senior earned some well-deserved bragging rights in a 69-55 victory that Hickman (16-7) led from start to finish.
Coach John Burns said Harris’ focus was intense. By the fourth quarter, just looking into his eyes told the story.
“I saw it and I was like ‘Oh my, he’s into it,’” Burns said. “That’s when you’re locked in. When you’re not blinking, you’re locked in.”
No kidding. Harris’ effort was not only a game high in points but a career high as well.
“I was shooting confident and it was falling in tonight,” Harris said. “When you shoot with confidence that’s just what happens.”
Despite missing his first 3-pointer in the game, Harris scored 11 points in the first quarter alone. As the game progressed, each possession fell into a similar pattern: Harris calling for the ball and Harris scoring.
“When any guy on our team is hot I encourage them to keep shooting and I encourage our guys to get them the ball,” Burns said.
With Harris scoring nearly half of Hickman’s points, other players on the team struggled.
Guard Jordan Stevens had a particularly poor offensive performance, scoring a meager five points, three of which came on free throws with time winding down. He did not make a 3-pointer, one of his normally strong attributes.
“He’s struggling right now. He’s going through a little slump,” Burns said. “But he’ll snap out of it if he keeps working. A couple of weeks ago it was Jordan and Lyle scoring all the points. As long as we’re scoring points, that’s what I’m concerned with.”
As most of the team struggled offensively and Harris shined, guard Marcus Whitt also found the basket, scoring 16 points. Harris and Whitt combined for 71 percent of Hickman’s points.
“Everybody likes to judge you by scoring,” Burns said. “It’s not always about scoring. If everybody does their job we can get the win.”
Even with the missed layups and poor 3-point shooting, Harris believes in his teammates.
“They give 100 percent effort,” Harris said. “I think they did great even if they were struggling on offense. They made big plays.”
The Kewpies next game, “Senior Night,” is against Ruskin (9-10) on Tuesday.