Stephens and Mills, the two Taylors, reach milestones this season
LA CENTER — Tremendous talent triumphs together.
The two Taylors, now with more than two thousand points between them.
Taylor Stephens scored her 1,000th career point Thursday night, helping La Center to a 60-21 victory over White Salmon in a Trico League girls basketball game.
Stephens, a junior, joined her teammate, Taylor Mills, who hit the 1,000-point mark earlier this season.
Stephens needed 11 points to hit the magic number Thursday. The school was ready. The crowd was ready. Stephens was ready, too.
“I probably would have cried,” she said, thinking about the possibility of having an off night and not getting to 11.
Instead, she made it to 1,000 before the end of the first quarter.
“The last three games, we’ve been kind of off,” Stephens said. “Personally, I didn’t play well in the last three games. We’re all getting over being sick.”
She walked into the home gym this night with a fresh attitude.
“I’m getting my thousand points tonight. I need to get aggressive and get this thing in the first quarter,” she said. “I’m going to get it going, and we’re going to keep it going and roll with it. That’s what we did.”
The Wildcats could not roll with it immediately. A timeout was called for a short ceremony. There were blue balloons that, close together, spelled out 1,000. Stephens received a commemorative basketball.
“To bring that ball to my dad and watch him cry, that was too much,” Stephens said.
Mills could appreciate that moment.
“I know it’s a big accomplishment for her. She’s wanted it forever. She’s worked for it,” Mills said. “She has a whole ‘nother year. That’s crazy. She’ll be scoring a whole lot more.”
Mills, a senior, made it 1,000 for her career a month ago in a win over Washougal.
“It was super cool because everyone was super supportive,” Mills said. “They all knew when I hit it. They cheered so loud.”
That, too, was a La Center home game so there was a timeout for the home crowd to give her a salute.
“I didn’t get the balloons, though,” she said with a smile. “I did get the basketball. That’s all that matters.”
All of the Wildcats, not just the two Taylors, understand the significance of individual achievements. They know those things go toward the bigger goal, of team accomplishments. La Center is No. 5 in Class 1A girls basketball RPI rankings.
The Wildcats also know this is their window. The team has six seniors, four of them are starters along with Stephens, the junior.
“Our chemistry, team-wise, our friendships, they are way, way better this year,” Stephens said. “That will help us when we’re at state. We’re playing together.”
Recording milestones together and making memories together, too.