MURRAY — Murray senior Austin Halls became the 31st player in Iowa High School Athletic Association history to score 2,000 career points, when he made a layup with 4:09 remaining in the first quarter of Murray’s 63-49 win over Moulton-Udell Friday night.
Halls entered Friday’s game just six points shy of the milestone, and wasted little time getting the historic moment out of the way.
Halls made the first basket of the game on a floater, and then set up Sam Rockhold for back-to-back baskets. After Cody Scroggie sank a jumper, Halls converted a steal into a layup.
After Moulton-Udell cut the Murray lead to 10-6 on the ensuing possession, Halls raced down the court and made the miletone-eclipsing layup with 4:09 to go in the quarter.
“He went after it early,” Murray head coach Darin Wookey said. “He wanted to get it done early and get it over with. That’s just an amazing feat for any athlete to get, and to get it for Murray is even more special, I think, for him and for everyone in Murray.”
During a brief timeout, Halls was congratulated by Murray athletic director Jerry Shields and the game ball Halls scored his 2,000th career point with was presented to his family.
The last player to reach the 2,000-point milestone was Ankeny Christian Academy’s Tim Olejniczak, who scored 2,015 points from 2008-2011. Since 2000, Halls is the 12th player to join the elite list. The all-time leader is Brooks McKowen of Wapsie Valley, who scored 2,831 from 2000-03.
Halls finished the game with 20 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.
For Halls, the milestone was just a stepping stone on his way to achieving bigger goals.
“You kind of enjoy it, but the most fun comes from playing with the guys,” Halls said. “I’ve grown up with them. But, it’s definitely a big accomplishment. It means I’ve been playing well, and for a personal goal, it’s a nice thing to achieve. But, we’ve got bigger goals than that — there are team goals we want to achieve. This one’s nice, but we’ve got better goals ahead, so we’ll focus on that.”
The important thing for Halls when it came to the milestone was achieving it on his home floor in front of friends and family, and the crowd of Mustang supporters.
“That was definitely something I wanted to do. The one thing I really wanted to put a touch on was make sure I got it at home, because I had a lot of family that wanted to come see it,” Halls said. “That was important to me — get it here at home. To come here and get it done here was a nice thing.”
After taking a 29-19 lead into halftime, the Murray Mustangs seemingly put away the Moulton-Udell Eagles thanks to a quick 9-0 run to start the third quarter.
Senior Eddie Otto hit two spot-up 3-pointers back-to-back, and then Halls raced into the frontcourt on a fast break, and hit a pull-up 3-pointer in transition to quickly stretch the lead to 38-19 just 1:20 into the second half.
The Eagles briefly cut the lead to 11 points in the fourth quarter, but Murray answered by hitting free throws down the stretch.
Mustang senior Matt Johnston held Moulton-Udell senior Quentin Fowler to just nine points in the game, three of which came on a late 3-pointer, holding him below his season scoring average of 12 points per game.
Meanwhile, Sam Rockhold finished with a double-double, scoring 12 points with 11 rebounds. For the second game in a row, Cody Scroggie led Murray in scoring, this time with 21 points.
“I thought Matt Johnston played really well defensively,” Wookey said. “There’s some times I’ve been unhappy with his defensive effort, and I told him tonight I thought that was the best defensive effort we’ve had out of him. Sam Rockhold — to me, Sam Rockhold was probably the highlight of the game. I told him afterward, we don’t win that game if he didn’t play like he did.”
Murray improved to 10-0 with the win, while Moulton-Udell slides to 7-2.
Murray continued its winning ways on Saturday against Diagonal, defeating the Maroons 72-44.
Halls led the way, scoring 42 points with six assists, six rebounds and five steals.
With Scroggie and Otto both going to the bench in the second quarter with foul trouble, Diagonal moved to an extended 2-3 zone, which slowed down the Murray offense for the remainder of the first half and part of the third quarter.
But, Halls remained hot, as he was able to penetrate the zone and make contested shots inside. He also shot 10-of-11 from the free throw line, with most of those free throws coming in the fourth quarter.
Johnston added 11 points as the only other Mustang player to reach double figures.
With his five steals against Diagonal, Halls sits just six steals away from tying Jayson Thompson’s (Hinton, 1988-91) all-time state record for career steals. Thompson’s record is 387.
The Mustangs host East Union tonight before traveling to Seymour on Friday.