Whitfield’s Anderson is career scoring leader in girls basketball
By: Warren Mayes
There’s a new career scoring leader in Whitfield girls basketball — senior Stephanie Anderson.
She recently has topped the 1,500 career point milestone. Anderson hit the milestone in a recent 53-38 home victory by the Warriors over Notre Dame.
The previous record of 1,178 points was held by Tyler Ituen, who graduate in 2010.
“I am happy for Stephanie and fortunate to be her coach,” said coach Harold Barker. “Stephanie is a terrific example of a student-athlete who strives for excellence. She has exhibited tremendous growth both on and off the court.
“During her career, Stephanie has clearly put her commitment to improve and to help her team improve above individual results. Her scoring record is a tremendous accomplishment and is the result of her excellent work ethic and character.”
Anderson said “topping the 1,500 points total has given me a feeling of self-accomplishment.”
She knew Ituen, who is playing college basketball at Moorehead State in Tennessee. Ituen was a senior when Anderson was a freshman year so they played one season together.
Ironically, what put her over the top was on a free throw.
“Going to the line, I had no idea how many more points I needed,” Anderson said. “It was a close game at that point so my mind was just set on winning. It was a two-shot free throw and after the first one went in, everyone cheered very loudly. Then when the second shot went in, the crowd got even louder.
“I figured I must have been one point away and that’s why they were getting excited. I turned around about to go play defense and my teammate, Mikayla Mooney, was already right behind me and just grabbed and hugged me.”
Barker said it’s a great accomplishment to score more than 1,500 in high school.
“Considering that 1000 points is considered to be a stellar career, I think 1500 points (and counting) is very impressive,” Barker said. “I do not know how elite that (1,500-point) club is, but I have to imagine it is pretty rarefied air.”
Scoring that many points was not anything she dreamed about, Anderson said.
“I never really had a goal of how many points I wanted to score in my high school season,” Anderson said. “I just wanted to be an effective player on my team and play the role expected of me, whether it was a defender, passer, or scorer.”
Last season, one of her teammate’s fathers found out she had already scored 1,000 points for Whitfield. After that, Barker talked to her and said he would plan on celebrating the next major marker. About a week, Barker informed her she was 40 points away.
To get to that point in her career, Anderson has put in plenty of time practicing and playing.
“I have been playing basketball since kindergarten; I played for a co-ed league,” Anderson said. “I first got interested in basketball because my family has always been big on sports, especially basketball. What I like the most about basketball is being able to take my mind off of everything else and just focus on the game I love.
“I believe I am a well-rounded player. Throughout my years of playing basketball, I have been put in all five positions. Because of this, I adapted post-player skills as well as point guard skills. I believe one of my biggest strengths is defense, and one of my weaknesses is finishing baskets through contact.”
Anderson is a 5-foot-10 guard/forward for Barker but he can play her at every position on the floor if he wanted.
“She’s an excellent shooter and ballhandler, who can finish around the basket,” Barker said. “She anticipates well and is deceptively long on the defensive end.”
Her coaches all have aided her development as a player, Anderson said.
“Coach Barker has definitely been helpful. After having two different coaches my freshman and sophomore year, it was nice to be able to keep a strong relationship to a coach for more than one year,” Anderson said. “I believe he does a great job with our program even though it is hard at times, being such a small school. My previous coaches have also done a lot for me.
“My AAU team throughout middle school had two coaches in Meghan and Ken Martz. I credit both of them to pushing me to higher levels of basketball. My CYC coach, Steve Graf, has also had a tremendous impact on my life. Not only did he help me with my basketball skills, but also with my leadership ability and overall good character. I could go on for days about how all of my coaches have helped me.”
There’s another person who has been instrumental to Anderson’s development — her mother, Angela.
“I have to say that I would not be where I am today if it were not for all the people who have helped me throughout my years, especially my mom,” Anderson said. “My mom has always pushed be to be the best I person and basketball player I can be. She is my motivation.”
For the rest of my senior season, Anderson said she would love for the Warriors to stay over .500 and win a district title.
She is a team captain for the second year.
“She leads by example but she is always willing to pull players aside to give them counsel,” Barker said. “She serves as a mentor to a lot of our younger players.”
Her high school career is winding down fast. She remembers how it all began.
“I remember going up to Whitfield the summer before I started Whitfield,” Anderson said. “I went up to the guys’ open gym and scrimmaged with them. I also remember the first day of practice; I got ready an hour early because I was so nervous.
“It’s weird to think that those memories were from four years ago. High school basketball has flown by, but this season, being my last, seems like it just started and now it is half over.”
She has played volleyball at Whitfield for all four years of high school.
“This year I am also planning on playing soccer just for fun,” Anderson said.
Then, it’s off to college.
“I am still undecided as to where I will go next year,” Anderson said. “I definitely plan on playing basketball in college. However, academics come first to me.”
Schools looking at Anderson include the University of Chicago, Wash University and the University of Rochester, Barker said.
Losing her will be hard, Barker added.
” I don’t want to think about that. She fills the stat sheet and does almost everything for us,” Barker said. “Stephanie is a straight A student who works hard and loves to learn. She is a wonderful ambassador for Whitfield.
“She has taken advantage of every opportunity that has been offered to her at Whitfield. She is a tremendous role model for future girls athletes and plans to study medicine in college.”