BY MIKE URSERY
People who have had the privilege of watching Dejonee Hale play for Central Methodist University are probably convinced there’s nothing she can’t do on a basketball court.
The senior guard, who came to CMU from Anchorage, Alaska, has more than etched her name into the CMU women’s basketball program’s history. She is the program’s all-time leading scorer, and is only 12 points from reaching 2,000 for her career.
On March 3, Hale set another program record, and was one field goal away from setting another. Hale scored 50 points in the Eagles’ Heart semifinal win over Grand View, breaking a record for points in a game.
The previous record for most points in a game was held by Morgan Vetter in 2015. Vetter is currently the head coach of the New Franklin Lady Bulldogs.
In addition to scoring 50 points, Hale made 17 field goals, tying another CMU women’s basketball program record. It was set by Taylor Cornelison in 2014.
Hale did both of these things on a night when the Eagles defeated Grand View 91-81 in the Heart of America Athletic Conference Tournament semifinals. The win set up a meeting with William Penn in the title game, to be played at Puckett Field House on March 6.
Senior guard Brandi Henton reached double-figures in scoring with 11 points, adding eight rebounds. Senior guard Zhara Laster had nine points and 11 rebounds, just missing out on a double-double.
The first quarter between Grand View and CMU was close. The period saw seven lead changes and seven ties.
CMU scored six straight points for their first lead of the game. Senior forward Ana Borges scored the first four points, and Hale scored her first field goal of the game to give the Eagles a 6-2 lead.
Grand View took the lead, 15-12, late in the first quarter. However, Hale hit a 3-pointer to tie the game 15-15 with 1:44 to go in the opening period. It was Hale’s third field goal of the game.
Hale hit her fourth field goal with just over a minute to play. She hit two free throws with less than a minute to go, giving CMU a 20-18 lead. Hale finished the first quarter with 11 points.
Grand View junior guard Shaleia Jamison hit two free throws to tie the score at 20-20 just before the quarter ended.
The Viking were held to only two field goals in the second quarter, but went 11-for-13 from the free throw line.
Hale opened the second quarter with a 3-point play, giving her 14 points at that point in the game. She later hit a 3-pointer, giving her a sixth field goal, and giving CMU a 27-22 lead.
Hale scored 14 points in the second quarter, giving her 25 in the first half. She was already halfway to setting a program record for most points in a game.
CMU and Grandview traded baskets in the opening minutes of the third quarter. The Eagles led 48-41 with 7:41 to play in the period.
That was when CMU began to pull away. Henton scored a basket to push the lead to nine points. After two free throws from Grand View, Hale knocked down a 3-pointer to extend the Eagles’ lead to 53-43.
Later in the third quarter, Laster, Hale and Henton all scored in succession to give CMU a 14-point lead. The score was 59-45 with 3:59 remaining in the third period.
CMU junior guard Maria Marquez hit a 3-pointer with 1:55 left in the period to give the Eagles their biggest lead of the game to that point, 66-50. That was the only score from Marquez, as she finished the game with three points.
Hale had 32 points by the end of the third quarter. She scored two consecutive buckets early in the fourth quarter to push her point total to 36.
With 5:04 left in the game, she hit a 3-pointer to make the score 77-63, putting her at 39 points.
Hale scored three more baskets in just over a minute, and with 2:20 to play, she hit another 3-pointer. She was at 48 points.
She hit two free throws with :30 left in the game to put her at 50 points, and the new record-holder for points scored in a game.
The Eagles hosted William Penn on March 6 in the HAAC Tournament championship game. Results for the game were not available at press time.
CMU hosted William Penn in their regular season finale on Feb. 24, winning 91-82. That win clinched the Heart regular season title for CMU.
BY MIKE URSERY