Commerce 81, Howe 62

At full strength the Howe Bulldogs would struggle against state-ranked Commerce.

With senior forward Seth Seibold missing due to illness, the Tigers were too talented and too deep for the Bulldogs at home as the visitors prevailed 81-62 on Jan. 20.

Commerce, coming into the game with a 5-0 record in District 10-3A play, got off to a hot start. Howe, riding the hot-shooting of junior post Ty Harvey, hung with the Tigers in the opening period. Harvey finished with a double-double performance for the night, scoring 30 points while collecting 14 rebounds. That 30-point scoring night was a season high for Harvey, and tied his career best.

Three Harvey field goals and a 3-pointer by sophomore Elijah Campbell tied the game, 9-9 late in the first quarter. Commerce sophomore guard Dodge Brown sent in a 3-pointer in the first quarter, the first of five he would make in the contest. He finished with 22 points for the night.

Harvey scored on a baseline drive to open the second quarter and junior Tyler Hawkins put back an offensive rebound to keep the Bulldogs within striking distance in the game.

John Hall, the 6-5 Commerce post, scored back-to-back baskets for the Tigers to start a second quarter run. Hall and Casey Shields were double-teaming Harvey on the defensive end, making scoring difficult for the Bulldog center.

“They are two really good athletes, number 11 (Hall) has a football scholarship to SMU and their other big guy was tough to get around,” Harvey said.

Brown scored from deep midway through the quarter, starting a string of five consecutive makes from beyond the arc by the Tiger perimeter shooters.

Campbell sent in his second, 3-pointer of the night just before that run and a putback by Harvey temporarily halted the bleeding. Campbell made 2-of-3 from the free-throw line late, but the Bulldogs were down, 48-25 at the halftime break.

Howe outscored the visitors, 22-17 in the third quarter. Seniors Brandon Wall and Brent Masters each scored a pair of 3-point shots in the period, and Harvey rebounded his own miss at the offensive end and scored before the 3-point barrage by his teammates.

Three-pointers by Harvey and Masters, two free throws by junior Clay Marshall, and another Wall basket matched the Commerce output in the final frame.

That 32-point, second-quarter effort by the Tigers was too much to overcome, and the Bulldogs fell, 81-62.

After a trip to Lone Oak on Jan. 24, Howe will host Whitewright on Jan. 27 as District 10-3A play continues.