After a 64-44 victory over Cocoa High on Dec. 7, the stat line for Melbourne Central Catholic’s Kayla Shepperd included 18 points, 5-of-7 shooting from the free-throw line and six steals.
There was also another number that stood out: 1,009.
During the game, Shepperd scored her 1,000th career point, ultimately ending up with 1,009 points once the game was finished. The junior is the 11th player to score 1,000 career points since head coach Candee Terry has been at MCC. Shepperd is the fastest in the school’s history to reach the mark and is currently on pace to break the school’s all-time scoring record held by Tina Thorpes, needing somewhere between 600 and 700 points, according to Terry.
Shepperd said she knew she was nearing the mark but wasn’t exactly sure how many points she needed. That was, in part, because Terry purposely kept the number from Shepperd. When Shepperd was about 70 points away, she scored 33 points. With the possibility of her reaching that number again, Terry let her know where she stood.
“I think she had 16 in the first quarter, so then I had to call her out and say, ‘Kayla you’re close to your 1,000. If I tell you not to shoot, stop shooting, because we’re on the road,’ ” Terry said.
It was a wise decision to let Shepperd in on it then. She didn’t break the mark away from home.
Once the ball entered the hoop for the milestone-eclipsing basket, the MCC player was thrilled with the accomplishment.
“I was excited about it and that everyone was there, that it happened at home and that I actually got the thousandth point the fastest in (school) history,” Shepperd said. “It was a good feeling.”
Shepperd has made an impact at MCC as a scorer, but also is contributing in other ways. This season, she is averaging 24 points, six steals, six rebounds and four assists. The focus on affecting the game outside of scoring has been something Terry has emphasized to Shepperd. The MCC coach has noticed games where Shepperd’s point production has increased due to getting her teammates involved.
“The thing that I’m trying to get her to understand is if she makes her teammates better, she’s going to have a lot more open shots, because as long as teams can double-team her because they don’t have the confidence of her teammates being able to score, then it’s going to make it that much harder for her,” Terry said.
One of her teammates she’s known longer than any other at MCC and who was a part of Shepperd’s journey well before high school is her twin sister, Shayla. The two push each other in practices and games, and though the siblings sometimes disagree with one another, their bond has led to an understanding of their roles on the court and how Kayla can get the ball to her sister.
Shepperd’s time at MCC has seen growth, from learning to play with improved talent to being a team leader as a sophomore. As she further makes a mark in MCC’s record books, there is a team award the scorer is looking to add to the collection.
“Championships,” Shepperd said. “I’m trying to get championships.”