Falcons’ Smith unexpectedly hits 1,000-point mark
After all, sinking shots was nothing new to Smith. But this basket would indeed stand out as one of the biggest shots of her career.
Smith forever etched her name in the school’s girls basketball history book when she scored the 1,000th point of her career during the Falcons’ 72-50 win over Kenmore East on Feb. 1.
Smith’s history making bucket came in the first half when she scored 19 of her 32 points on the night.
Having no idea that she was so close to 1,000, Smith was stunned when Pawlak was the first to race over and say congratulations.
“She came over and hugged me and I said ‘Rachel what are you doing? I’ve made a basket before,’” Smith said with a grin. “And she just started laughing and said, ‘you just made your 1,000th point.’ I said, ‘what,’ then they announced it and I was like, ‘oh.’ I was really shocked.”
The game briefly stopped so Smith could be presented with a ball and have photos taken with her fellow seniors. Falcons coach Diane Fegatilli couldn’t be any happier for Smith.
“She really has, since her freshman year, worked hard to make herself a basketball player,” Fegatilli said. “She’s worked really hard over the last four years to become a complete basketball player.”
Interestingly enough, Fegatilli did not inform Smith that she was indeed closing in on the milestone mark.
“Earlier on in the season we were talking about people who made their 1,000th point and (she said) that no one on the team was even close,” said Smith. “So it didn’t even cross my mind that I was even close. Then when it happened, I couldn’t even take it in. I didn’t know what was happening.”
Not wanting to put any added pressure on Smith’s shoulders, Fegatilli did her best to not to let on to Smith. But on this day, she told the other players.
Fegatilli made it clear that top priority was to win the league game. But if they could do that, while helping Smith reach the milestone in the same breath, then go for it.
Pawlak did her part in helping Smith reach 1,000 on this night as she fed eight Smith times for assists on the night.
“The players on the floor just kept feeding her then she hits a 1,000 points, and Rachel goes over and starts hugging her and I hugged her and she’s looking at us like what’s going on?” Fegatilli said. “She was shocked. She had no idea.”
Smith added that being able to hit 1,000 at home and share the moment with family, friends and classmates made it even more special.
Being in the company of other 1,000 point scorers Beth Guiliani, Megan Hathaway and all-time leader Angela Tylec is pretty heady stuff for Smith who had a series of memories flash before her eyes. She thought especially about the teammates that helped her reach this moment.
“I started crying a little bit because I thought about last year and everybody who moved on and I wish they could be here to share it with me,” Smith said, “I just appreciate everything they’ve done for me in the past.”
Though soccer is Smith’s first love, she isn’t writing basketball off just yet. Heading for Pitt-Bradford of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference, Smith is hopeful to play both sports in college.