Hallsville beats North Carolina men’s basketball; Craighead has career scoring night

North Callaway boys’ basketball player Isiah Craighead had the best offensive game of his high school career, scoring a game-high 21 points (48.8% of team total).

Unfortunately, Hallsville got the better of North Callaway for the second time this season, beating the Thunderbirds 68-43 on Tuesday night in Hallsville. The result sends North Callaway below .500 (4-5), while Hallsville moves to 7-1.

If it weren’t for Craighead, the Indians would have had a stronger result. In addition to his strong scoring display, Craighead had a team-high two steals and tied for the team lead in rebounding with six.

“Most of the shots were from midrange and inside,” North Callaway coach Matt Miller said. “He’s a talented scorer and has a lot of skill. He’s got some guard skills as well. He can handle it and break the pressure, attack the rim and things like that. He doesn’t have to catch it and shoot the block. He can make a play himself. He’s really involved as a basketball player and he had a really amazing night.”

It may have been Craighead night for the Thunderbirds, but it also meant that North Callaway had a different player lead the team in scoring in the past three games.

“We have balance,” Miller said. “We have a lot of different guys who can score basketball. Our problem is the ball sticks too much to one player. One guy thinks I need to score this time or whatever. If we share the basketball and take care of the basketball, we have a guy to put it in the hole. It’s just trusting each other and trusting yourself.”

Whereas the Thunderbirds had one guy do it, Hallsville had three players with a double-digit scoring game.

“Five guys who can pass and dribble and shoot down the court at all times,” Miller said. “Their big guys, their post guys, are really good passers and very skilled. They always open up the floor and get great ball movement.”

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The Indians displayed their offensive prowess from the jump, going 7-0 to start the contest.

“It puts a lot of pressure on us, especially on the road,” Miller said. “So you’re always trying to go uphill, and you’re always playing from behind in a tough environment against a good team that knocks you down early. It’s hard to keep up that pace.”

However, North Callaway responded. Following Hallsville’s excellent start, the Thunderbirds put together a 9-5 run and cut their deficit to three points.

During North Callaway’s scoring surge, Samuel Pezold and Craighead made two buckets. A free throw by Matthew Weber was the final point of the Thunderbirds’ streak.

The momentum shifted again late in the first quarter, as the Indians outscored North Callaway 9-2 after the Thunderbirds’ skid. Four players scored for Hallsville during that time, with a Kolton Garner steal and layup in transition the highlights.

Garner, who scored 28 points in the teams’ first meeting this season, recorded eight of his team’s 19 points for Hallsville in the first quarter, and finished the first half with 11.

“He’s a good player, one of the best players in the area, right?” Miller said. “I mean 6’5, and he can go out there and shoot. And then whenever things don’t go his way, he comes up and he can get the offensive rebounds. You made him play pretty good (laughs); then he still finds the way”.

In the second quarter, the Indians made two 3-pointers that accounted for half their points.

Blake Stone scored Hallsville’s first from deep in the second, firing it from the right corner. Jackson Smith made the Indians’ second triple; he sank the deep 3-pointer after picking up an offensive rebound.

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North Callaway held the Indians to seven fewer points in the second, but the Thunderbirds scored just 10, two fewer than they had in the first quarter.

Craighead scored six points and pulled down two rebounds for North Callaway in the second quarter.

After the break, Hallsville went on a 10-2 run to start the second half, with Garner scoring six points in that time. But North Callaway responded with an 11-5 run to end the third quarter.

Like North Callaway’s long scoring streak in the first half, Craighead was integral in this one as well; he scored six of the team’s 11 points. Weber was another key Thunderbird in the streak: he knocked down two boards and made a 3-pointer.

North Callaway couldn’t keep the offense going in the fourth quarter. The Thunderbirds scored just six points while Hallsville had 18.

The final eight minutes highlighted why the Indians won: North Callaway couldn’t consistently stop their offense.

“This game will help us when the new year comes soon,” said Miller. “This game will help us get to district time, playing a team like this in this environment with that ability…the last two losses against good, tough teams, but we’re going to learn from that.”

Kicking off the new year, North Callaway (4-5) takes on Callaway Cup foe South Callaway (5-4) at 7:30 pm Tuesday in Kingdom City. Last season, the teams met twice, with each team winning once; both contests were played at South Callaway.

“It’s just going to be our second home game,” Miller said. “It’s pretty much the way our schedule worked. Getting them to come to our place this year. We’ll be very, very excited about that and for sure.”

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