It is an exclusive club with individual chapters, but the sole qualification carries weight and translates.
Any high school basketball player who scores 1,000 points in a career is going to be honored and remembered. The figure is attainable and memorable, often a rarity, but always a cherished accomplishment to recall with pride.
The remarkable thing about this 2020-21 high school hoops season is that five Jackson County players reached the milestone within weeks of one another. That is mind-boggling. Some schools can go years between adding a boy or a girl to the all-time, break-that-barrier list.
Katherine Benter, Grace Meyer and Bailey Tabeling were the three girls who topped 1,000 points this winter. They were joined by Tyler Goecker and Cable Spall on the boys side.
All but Tabeling are seniors. As a bonus, both the girls and boys programs at Trinity Lutheran saw the school’s all-time point leaders change with Sydney Jaynes the new girls leader and Goecker the new boys leader.
While each feat was noted at a time, fewer people than ever had the opportunity to see those players play this winter, to watch those schools’ all-time greats do their thing. That was because of restrictions placed on attendance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At some points during the season, gyms allowed zero spectators, or just two fans per player, or 25% of capacity, depending on when and where the home court was.
Fans were shorted on the freedom to watch highly skilled local stars passing through on their way to graduation, and players were shorted on the cheers they deserved. They all pulled it off, though, crossing the 1,000-point threshold, even when it was not on their minds or even if they kind of sneaked up on the total.
Benter, a Brownstown Central guard with plans to continue playing at Hanover College, said she knew she was getting close. Then one day, assistant coaches on the bench told her she needed only four more points to reach four figures.
“That was one of the special goals I had in the back of my mind,” Benter said. “I thought I had a ways to go, so it was a shock. When they said, ‘Four points,” I said, ‘What?'”
Which was pretty much the same reaction Benter had when told she was one of five local players to reach 1,000 in the same season.
“It is a lot,” Benter said. “It’s definitely something super special. It’s a special moment, a special time.”
Benter was not a four-year starter. She said she scored about 10 varsity points as a freshman, but what she assumes she had in common with the others was hard work to get better. She kept right on scoring the rest of the season, too, finishing with 1,311 points, second on the Braves’ all-time list.
Meyer, whose No. 1 sport is softball, said she is proud to have her name commingled with Seymour scorers of the past.
“Those were some great players,” Meyer said. “It actually is really nice to be one of those who accomplished it. ”
Meyer broke 1,000 during a day game with a limited number of fans as witnesses. But the social media response distributed compliments.
“It still feels really nice,” she said.
Meyer did not realize she had so much company spread around Jackson County this year sharing the same feeling.
“It’s really crazy that five people managed to get 1,000 points (in the same season),” she said.
Spall, a 5-foot-11 guard, only joined the club a couple of weeks ago for Crothersville, but he was averaging more than 22 points a game, so he kept zooming right past 1,000. In his final game at sectional, Spall notched his 1,101st point, leaving him second on the Tigers’ all-time list.
Combining his point total with his role in Crothersville’s first sectional title in 2020, Spall said it was a satisfying capstone to his high school career.
Goecker, whose Trinity team is playing today in the Loogootee Regional and can add to his points mark, shot past 1,000 and in a special ceremony during a midseason game was recognized for setting the total points mark.
The former record-holder, Daniel Horton of Seymour, was present watching. Horton is a cousin, so their history is more tightly intertwined.
Unlike Goecker, Trinity’s female counterpart, Jaynes, was already over 1,000 points before this season. In her final game, however, Jaynes caught and passed the old record, completing her career with 1,598 points overall.
Jaynes, who is on her way to play for Butler University next season, was just completing an offseason workout the other night when she reflected on being the owner of the new mark.
“I think it was like the biggest blessing ever,” Jaynes said. “I wouldn’t have been there without the team getting me the ball. I honestly didn’t think it was in the wheelhouse until I got there.”
Immersed in their own teams’ seasons and their own games, most of the players were unaware how many of their counterparts at neighboring schools also cracked 1,000 points this year.
“Wow! That’s crazy,” Jaynes said.
Then there is Jaynes’ teammate, Tabeling. Tabeling now has 1,089 points. Her circumstances differ from the others because she is a sophomore with two years to play. She is scoring at a terrific rate, one that raises the question of if the 5-9 guard can top 2,000 points in her hoops career.
“That’s unheard of to have five,” Trinity girls coach Mike Lang said of so many Jackson County players going over 1,000 in one season. “I can’t remember anything like that. They’re all special players.”
Lang coached two of them, the all-time scorer and the one top scorer back, at the same time.
“She’ll do everything she can to get to 2,000,” he said of Tabeling.
That will be a long time coming, but the possibility is there, and the possibility has crossed Tabeling’s mind. She has thought about it.
“Two thousand,” Tabeling said. “Yeah, a little bit. I’m just trying to keep it in view.”
The Indiana High School Athletic Association girls basketball career scoring record is 3,268 points, notched by Jackie Young of Princeton, who finished playing in 2016. About 50 girls in all have reached the 2,000 mark
Tabeling surprised herself going over 1,000 so soon.
“At the beginning of freshman year, if you had said that, I probably would have said, ‘You’re crazy,'” she said.
For now, Tabeling is still savoring her 1,000 points in the bank and the 20-5 Trinity season that included a sectional crown.
“It was cool,” Tabeling said. “It’s one of those things that is a good accomplishment. It came with a great team, and it came in a great season.”