girls basketball

Jenkins' Whitney Creech scores 71 to become Kentucky's all-time leading scorer

Whitney Creech scores 71 points against Paintsville to become Kentucky’s all-time leading scorer.

Jenkins guard Whitney Creech and her mother hug after she scored 71 pounts against Paintsville in overtime to become the all-time scorer in Kentucky at 4, 957 Tuesday February 2, 2016 in Paintsville, Ky. Creech started the game 63 points shy of becoming the state's top scorer. (John Flavell/Special to the C-J)

Jenkins guard Whitney Creech and her mother hug after she scored 71 pounts against Paintsville in overtime to become the all-time scorer in Kentucky at 4, 957 Tuesday February 2, 2016 in Paintsville, Ky. Creech started the game 63 points shy of becoming the state’s top scorer. (John Flavell/Special to the C-J)

PAINTSVILLE, Ky. – With the type of performance fans have come to expect here in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, Jenkins High School’s Whitney Creech entered the record book in style Tuesday night.

Needing 63 points to become the state’s all-time leading scorer, Creech scored a career-high 71 to lead the Cavaliers to a 90-87 overtime victory at Paintsville.

A 5-foot-9 senior guard who has signed with Western Kentucky University, Creech now has 4,957 career points. She joined the varsity team at Jenkins as a fifth-grader – scoring five points – and has averaged at least 21 per game since her freshman season. In 22 games this season, she’s averaging 50.3 points for her squad that improved to 11-11 with Tuesday’s victory.

MORE COVERAGE | Photos from Whitney Creech’s record-setting night

Creech broke the record of Highlands’ Jaime Walz, who finished with 4,948 points during a high school career that ended in 1996. Walz, named Kentucky’s Miss Basketball as a senior, also went on to play at WKU and now is the head girls basketball coach at Highlands.

“I couldn’t imagine it any better, getting a new career high and breaking the record and getting a tough win in overtime,” Creech said.

Creech had scored at least 63 points three previous times in her career, but Jenkins coach Ashley Addington figured the record would be broken Thursday when the Cavaliers will play at Perry County Central. Now the focus of that game becomes whether she can score 43 points to reach 5,000 for her career.

Jenkins guard Whitney Creech shoots a layup against Painstville during their game Tuesday February 2, 2016 in Paintsville, Ky. Creech started the game 63 points shy of becoming the state's top scorer. (John Flavell/Special to the C-J)

Jenkins guard Whitney Creech shoots a layup against Painstville during their game Tuesday February 2, 2016 in Paintsville, Ky. Creech started the game 63 points shy of becoming the state’s top scorer. (John Flavell/Special to the C-J)

“Knowing Whitney, you never know how she’s going to come out,” Addington said. “She’s had three or four 60-point games. But (71) points? That’s mind-blowing. Before the game I was banking on Thursday night, and I think everybody else was, too. But she keeps blowing things out of the water and keeps amazing people.

“Tonight she did it again. … She’s an amazing kid.”

The left-handed Creech hit 28 of 49 shots, including 1 of 5 3-point tries, and nailed 14 of 18 free throws in her 71-point performance. She made three other free throws that were nullified by lane violations. The majority of her points came on drives to the basket.

The 71 points are tied for third-most by a Kentucky girl in a single game, behind only Geri Grigsby of McDowell (81 points in 1975 vs. Feds Creek) and Peggy Gay of Buckhorn (74 points in 1975 vs. Oneida Baptist).

Creech had 23 points at halftime but went 8 of 14 from the field in the third quarter to get to 41 points. Her 3-pointer with 3.5 seconds left in regulation tied the score at 74, forcing overtime, and gave her 58 points.

The record-setting shot came with 2:01 left in overtime. Creech got the ball on the right wing, pump-faked her defender into the air, took one dribble to her right and swished a 14-footer to give the Cavaliers an 80-78 lead.

Creech said she was unsure at the moment how many points she had.

“I started seeing the fans cheering and clapping, and the next time down the court my coach said, ‘You got it,’” said Creech, who finished with 13 points in overtime. “It felt pretty good. It’s an honor to be in the position I am and to be able to break that record.”

Creech has become a sensation in her hometown of Jenkins, located on the Kentucky-Virginia border in the southeastern part of the state. A sign in downtown Jenkins has kept a running total of her career points this season and read “WHITNEY CREECH 4,886 POINTS AND COUNTING” before Tuesday’s game.

Another sign entering Jenkins proclaims the town “Home of Whitney Creech 2015 National High School Field Goal Scoring Champion.” Her scoring average of 42 points per game last season led the nation.

“She’s a great kid, and for our community she’s brought a bright spot back to our little town,” Addington said. “There’s nobody more deserving than this girl.”

Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and jfrakes@courier-journal.com.

CREECH ON TOP

Kentucky’s career scoring leaders in girls high school basketball (source: Kentucky High School Athletic Association record book):

  1. Whitney Creech, Jenkins 4,957
  2. Jaime Walz, Highlands 4,948
  3. Geri Grigsby, McDowell 3,952
  4. Kim Mays, Knox Central 3,726
  5. Carolyn Alexander, Hazard 3,469

MOST POINTS IN A GAME

The most points scored by one player in a girls high school basketball game in Kentucky (source: Kentucky High School Athletic Association record book):

81 – Geri Grigsby (McDowell) vs. Feds Creek, 1975

74 – Peggy Gay (Buckhorn) vs. Oneida Baptist, 1975

71 – Whitney Creech (Jenkins) vs. Paintsville, 2016

71 – Beverly Smallwood (Dorton) vs. Millard, 1987

66 – Heather Benton (Leslie County) vs. Jackson City, 2004

66 – Melissa Brandon (Oneida Baptist) vs. Cordia, 1996

2 comments
MgoAzul
MgoAzul

Come on opposing coaches put a defensive player on her and stick to her like glue..If she goes to the drinking fountain during a time out, have your player guarding her turn on the tap for her! 

IsaacWalls1
IsaacWalls1

Apparently, you've never witnessed this girl's basketball skills in person or that ridiculously embarrassing comment that you posted which forced me to address it accordingly so wouldn't had ever been thought of let alone posted on this social media sports website comment section. Whitney Creech has constantly been snubbed and ignored by the national sports media organizations for reasons that still baffle me and that even Michael Jordan would shake his head in shame over but knowing how this girl is it's not even remotely important to her because she'll prove that she's one of the nations elite basketball player's once her freshman season gets underway at Western Kentucky and she's lighting it up from every position that a player could possibly score from out on an basketball court.