Handling change, multitasking and keeping up with a busy schedule is becoming second nature for a Roncalli basketball standout from the Center Grove area.
Halle Harris, the Rebels’ senior co-captain, wants to become a teacher, and the requirement of that vocation to handle multiple, pressing demands and frequent change is being honed through her high school career and everyday life.
Harris enjoys a busy schedule. The senior plays both school and club basketball. She competes in track and field for the Rebels as a hurdler, plus is involved with Johnson County 4-H, raising sheep and showing her animals at the county fair. All of this along with her role as team captain and the demands of academic life at the highly regarded high school.
Along with negotiating all of this, Harris has learned a lot about change. A four-year member of the Roncalli varsity, Harris is playing for her third coach in four years. She said the changing systems have at times been tough to keep track of.
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“When you get a new coach you go to new mottos and lingo, new ways of organizing offense and defense. I went from half-court man-to-man and spread offense freshman year, to 2-3 zone and a driving offense sophomore year to full-court man-to-man and everything you can think of in offense the next year. It’s really nice to have the same coach again for a second year this year,” Harris said.
That coach is veteran Stan Benge, who has added to his more than 500 career wins by guiding Roncalli to a 18-6 record this season. Benge said the 5-foot-7 wing player is playing the best basketball of her life right now.
“Her shooting has improved, and really every part of her game is getting better. She started coming into her own last year, but she had mono and a thigh injury, so she didn’t get to play as much as she would have liked. Now that she’s playing regularly she’s just getting better and better,” Benke said.
One example of that was in the Marion County Tournament final, when Harris made five 3-point field goals to bring her team back from a big deficit to make the contest with Lawrence North a close one. Although the Rebels dropped the game 58-51, Harris counts that as one of her favorite memories during her career.
Change has come to Harris on the basketball court again in recent weeks as the Rebels have suffered through a spate of injuries, meaning the wing player has been called upon to handle the ball for Roncalli more than before, something Benge said she is doing quite well.
Away from basketball, Benge cited Harris’ character as impressive
“She’s a high-quality person. She’s a competitor. I saw her last year at the regional track meet, and she congratulated the girl who beat her. She really exemplifies the way athletics are supposed to be. She is always thinking of other people,” he said.
In fact the only negative Benge could think of was actually a positive, in that Harris sometimes spreads herself a little thin because of her many benevolent activities.
A recent example he mentioned was when the school put on a girls retreat that she couldn’t attend because of basketball. Harris left the gym immediately after a practice in order to write notes of spiritual encouragement to some of her friends who would be attending.
Harris plans to study education in college, but where is still up in the air. Playing college basketball is a possibility, she said.
Before that however, she wants to help the team accomplish more things on the court. A semistate appearance her sophomore year was a good memory, and now the team is in good form again, despite the recent injuries, with the tournament approaching.
“We are doing well, and the school is getting excited about it. It’s nice to see people in the cheering section and to hear about it on the announcements or to have people tell you in the hall that you had a good game. We are like a family; and while we might fight about petty things sometimes, we always have each other’s back.”
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Halle Harris profile
Middle school: Our Lady of the Greenwood
Career goal: Elementary or special education teacher
Family: Parents, Jan and Fred; brothers, Will (17) and John (15)
Favorite food: Mexican
Favorite book: “The Rescue” by Nicholas Sparks