Shooting star

Braylee McMath drives for the shot that produced her 1,000th career point Tuesday night.

There has never been a shortage of players in Georgetown capable of scoring 1,000 points in their high school basketball career.

Of course, having to wait one's turn to crack the starting lineup behind all that talent is sometimes the tallest obstacle.

It's a journey laden with life lessons, and one that isn't lost on Great Crossing senior point guard Braylee McMath, who had the perspective to recognize it as both a burden and a privilege after joining the elite club Tuesday night in a 71-36 home win over West Jessamine.

“Playing under so many good players, I always looked up to them and saw them get their 1,000 points,” McMath said. “It's something that I hoped I would accomplish, and it's finally here, so I'm pretty excited about it. Not many people get to say that they scored that many points, but I'm grateful.”

McMath entered the game needing six points to join the crowded but storied roster of quadruple-digit sharpshooters.

Listed at an even five feet tall, and well known to teammates and rivals alike for her willingness to throw that body around the court with reckless abandon, McMath cleared the hurdle in trademark fashion.

She drove to the basket around two defenders and floated it through the cylinder with a flick of her right wrist at the 4:19 mark of the first quarter.

“I'm glad we got that out of the way, but I'm proud of her,” GC coach Glenn Wilson said. “That's a great accomplishment. She got a lot of those points here.”

Since moving over from Scott County, where she started her career as an eighth-grader, McMath has scored 638 points in only 35 games with Great Crossing. Her all-around play led the Warhawks to the 11th Region semifinals in their inaugural 2019-20 season.

McMath, who is signed with NCAA Division II Christian Brothers University, scored 20 of her game-high 24 in the first half. That matched the Colts’ output.

She also made six steals, helping her team force 20 turnovers.

“I think she's more accomplished. She's more confident than she was last year, and she was pretty confident last year,” Wilson said. “She's more of a coach out there than she was last year. She'll text me, 'Hey, Coach, I think we ought to come out in this.' She's already thinking about the game plan. I just give her the green light and let her go.”

Raegan Barrett added 15 points and six rebounds for GC (3-0). Timothi Williams chipped in 12, while Rachel Smith dished out seven assists.

Anaya Chestnut led West Jessamine (1-3) with eight points.

A dozen county players have exceeded 1,000 points since the 2016-17 season: Michael Moreno, Cooper Robb, Bryce Long, Diablo Stewart, Glenn Covington, Terrin Hamilton among boys; Peyton Riddle, Maaliya Owens, Morgan DeFoor, Juliette Smith, Malea Williams and McMath for the girls.

Moreno, Owens and DeFoor all topped 2,000 points in a Scott County uniform.

“Playing with them gave you a chip on your shoulder that some of these younger kids will never know, never get to experience,” McMath said of her years as first or second player off the bench for the Lady Cards, during which SC twice advanced to the KHSAA Sweet 16.

“I wouldn't take any of that for granted. I've definitely had a bigger leadership role here. That's helped me so much with my confidence and with everything else. I'm proud of my team.”

The game itself met with mixed reviews from Wilson. He called timeout after only two minutes and chastised the Warhawks for a sluggish start on the defensive end that left the score knotted at five.

Barrett buried two free throws out of that huddle to give undefeated GC (3-0) a lead it wouldn't relinquish. It continued what would become a 13-0 run, ending with McMath's historic hoop.

McMath backed up Barrett's work at the line with a steal and a layup. Williams then drained a 3-pointer, and Ava Schureman cashed in a backdoor cut off a clever feed from Smith.

“It was sloppy tonight. We just weren't focused,” Wilson said. “We knew that we would probably come out and win this game, but we didn't play with the same fire, the intensity we've been playing with before. We weren't mentally out here tonight, playing like we're capable of playing.”

The Warhawks lived up to their two-year reputation as one of the top free throw shooting teams in the state by sinking nine in a row during a less free-flowing second quarter.

Barrett scored nine points in that chapter, punctuated by a traditional 3-point play off a quick dish from McMath.

“She's much stronger, more physical, playing with a lot more confidence,” Wilson said of Barrett. “Every game she's scoring at least double figures, Quiet, but she's scoring and doing what we ask her do. I'd like to see here get a few more rebounds, but her physicality, she's doing a lot better with that.”

Hailey Ward's fast break layup and consecutive buckets by McMath – first an open 3-pointer, then another steal and score – capped a 10-0 run to close the half and fatten the lead to 50-24.

“We always have room to improve,” McMath said. “We prepare for every team the same way. You never want to play down to anybody's level even if you know you're the better team. We always try to give 100 percent, be consistent.”

A running clock governed the fourth quarter and stopped the Warhawks from matching their two 80-point outings from this past weekend.

Smith, often a complementary outside shooter to McMath and Williams, threaded the needle through traffic with pretty bounce passes to Barrett, McMath and Olivia Tierney to provide most of the second-half highlights.

“That's great when you find the open person. Everybody can't score at all times, so everybody's got to go out there and do the little things,” Wilson said. “It's hard to find people who want to do the little things. (Smith) did a good job tonight dishing to the assists and doing what she needed to do.”

GC will host Franklin County in a showdown of the two far-and-away favorites in the 41st District at 7:30 Friday night.

The Flyers, who absorbed their first loss of the season Tuesday against Anderson County, prevailed in three hard-fought battles with the Warhawks last winter.

“We've got to come out and play. They're gonna be big. They're gonna be physical, intense,” Wilson said. “We can't come out intimidated. Come ready to play and see what happens.”

Recommended for you