Crowded club of 1,000-point scorers
Bre Berryman, Emiley Masloski, Angela Staffileno, Vanessa Hissam, Alyssa Shingle, Katie Ellzy and Brennan Czuchran are more alike than the numbers that have defined their basketball careers.
All seven high school athletes surpassed the 1,000-point mark this season.
“Thousand point scorers always have the same things in common,” said Weir High coach Bill Smith. “They’re hard workers, they’re great kids from great families and they’re not afraid.
“They want the ball with the game on the line.”
The aforementioned standouts have been the go-to scorers and leaders for their teams. Each is a key cog in the starting lineups and leaders on the floor.
“Everyone would love her as a teammate,” Indian Creek coach Erin DeSantis said of Berryman, her 6-foot-6 starting center. She is the essence of team. She will do whatever she has to do for her teammates.
“In the locker room after she got there the first thing she said was she wanted to thank her teammates because they were who got her to 1,000 points.”
It’s a far cry from my short-lived time as a high school basketball player.
My hoops career began in a suburban Youngstown driveway playing games of horse with my dad. He was a 4-year letterwinner at the now-defunct Kingwood High School in North Central, W.Va.
My dad was, and still is, quick for his age. He had, and still does possess, a smooth jumpshot, killer pump-fake and solid dribbling skills.
He’s over 55 – I just turned 25. Beating him 1-on-1 is grounds for a grand personal celebration, as well as an extra scoop of ice cream or bigger slice of apple pie after dinner.
Then, and now.
Czuchran, the all-time leading scorer in Buckeye Local boys basketball history said reaching the milestone of 1,000 was his goal as soon as he suited up for his first varsity game as a freshman.
“It’s all I ever thought about,” he said.
My goal was just to score once during fourth quarter garbage time – and that was even hard to come by. I sunk just one shot (a free throw, mind you) in my one year of varsity basketball.
The Panthers’ 6-foot-3 sharpshooter surpassed the 1,000 point mark early in a sectional loss to West Holmes after averaging more than 20 points a game in his senior season.
Hissam certainly didn’t reach the milestone by accident, yet it wasn’t a goal for the Oak Glen senior.
“I didn’t really even think about it,” she said. “I just wanted us to play together as a team this year and win.”
Along with Jessica Stivason, Hissam was part of a strong post presence though the Golden Bears recently ended their season with a record of 14-9.
Hampered by injuries throughout the past two years, reaching the 1,000 point plateau was a bright spot for Masloski and Steubenville as its season abruptly ended after a crushing loss to Philo on Feb. 18.
“When we watched films when she was hurt sometimes the loudest person was Emiley, and she was always positive,” said Big Red coach Phil Casinelli. “It’s so great to see someone who’s worked so hard, and has been through so much adversity, get something like this. Then again I know her, and she’s not about that individual stuff. She’s about the team.”
It’s not fair to say that Shingle may have been the least likely local player to reach 1,000 points. But at just 5-foot-1, even she will admit that being the shortest player on the floor poses a different kind of threat each game. However, it certainly is not a disadvantage.
“I think what has made me more of a basketball player over the years is just the pure athleticism you need to play,” Shingle said. “It separates the average players especially when you go higher up in the level of competition.
“God has really blessed me over the years with athletic ability, skill and talent. I’ve really worked hard, too.”
Like Berryman, Staffileno still has the luxury of playing another year of prep basketball.
Look out Ohio Valley, you’re not done with them just yet.
“Angela will have the school record in points by the end of the year,” said third-year Bruins coach Ryan Scherich, who estimates that Staffileno is second or third in the ranks. “She’s one in a million. There may not be another girl who comes through here like her.”
The Brooke junior reached 1,000 in a 59-49 win over Buckeye Local, where she led with 32 points.
The milestone mark for Ellzy came on a historic night for the Harrison Central girls basketball team.
She scored 24 points as the Huskies beat Monroe Central, 64-52, and set a school record for wins in a season. They also earned their first OVAC 4A and sectional titles this season.
“The girls worked hard all year,” said HC coach Nick Yourkovich. “Their hard work every day allowed us to cross off the first two goals on (our) list.”
It’s not often that seven area players can reach the 1,000-point mark all in the same year.
Czuchran won’t be surprised if it happens again soon, though.
“To anybody that wants to score 1,000 points, June, July and August is when the basketball players are made,” he said. “If you get up enough shots and you do the right things, anybody can score 1,000 points.
“You just have to put the ball in the bucket.”
I should’ve taken his advice. I still have 999 more points to go.
(Peaslee, a Youngstown native, is a sports writer for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter at @thempeas)