By Jeff Odom
Steinbrenner girls basketball player Bailey Hooker worked nearly four years for a milestone she accomplished in just 10 minutes and 24 seconds.
The senior forward/guard received a cross-court pass from Olivia Unger, took one step outside the arc and swished a 3-point shot to secure her 1,000th career point in the second quarter of the Warriors’ 65-58 win at Tampa Bay Tech (TBT) Dec. 3. She is the first in the program’s four-year history to reach the milestone.
“It was just a lot of energy, and it definitely fueled me for the rest of the game,” said Hooker, who was given a standing ovation by fans. “Just the people up in the stands, my family and my team, just knowing that it was my 1,000th point and seeing (a) sign go up saying congrats, it’s just a really great feeling. … My points are from my team. I wouldn’t have gotten them without (Unger’s) assist and my point guard and the rest of my team.”
Steinbrenner coach JR Allen called a timeout after Hooker passed the mark in order for the rest of the team to relish the moment.
“I’ve never coached a 1,000-point scorer, so it’s a cool night for me too because she got those points from some of the offenses and stuff that I created,” Allen said. “She bought in and believed, and her teammates did the same thing. It’s just a special night for Steinbrenner, it’s a special night for Bailey Hooker and for (everyone) that was able to be a part of it.”
Led by Hooker’s team-high 26 points –14 in the second quarter — the Warriors (9-0) never trailed after the first five minutes, but the Titans (6-4) kept it close until the final buzzer.
Allen said the game plan wasn’t about letting Hooker get to 1,000. It was about defeating Tampa Bay Tech, which he called “one of the best wins” for the program ever.
“It wasn’t something she was talking about a lot, and it wasn’t something I was advertising either,” Allen said. “I’ve preached from Day 1 that we’re all about a team right here. One of the cool things about Bailey is at halftime she was the first to say, ‘I don’t get that without the help of my teammates.’ That’s awesome that she’s on that page mentally.”
TBT brought the score within three early in the second half, but a 13-0 run by Steinbrenner squashed any hope of a late comeback.
Lauren Shedd (12 points) and Jessica Weatherman (four points) gave the Warriors key baskets during the run, and Hooker topped it off with one final 3-pointer with five minutes left in the game.
She said getting to the milestone was on her mind all weekend after she came within 13 points of reaching 1,000 at home against Gaither Nov. 30. Her father Roy joked with her afterwards that if she averages 27 points the rest of the season, she could reach another milestone — 1,500.
The Warriors hosted Hillsborough Dec. 12, but results were not available by press time. Steinbrenner plays at home against district opponent Chamberlain Dec. 12 before a showdown with undefeated Class 7A-District 9 rival Freedom Dec. 13. Both games start at 8 p.m.