Clearfield Alliance's Wharton scores 1,000th point|
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
By Jon Christoff Sports Writer
It was a play that she has made countless times in her career with her hustle and athleticism, but this steal-turned-layup had a bit more significance for Clearfield Alliance Christian School girls basketball player Alyssa Wharton.
Wharton's easy two points with 3:41 left in the third quarter snapped a 5-minute, 19-second drought of being stuck on 999 career points, as she became the first Lady Crusader to eclipse the 1,000-point mark in a 38-29 setback to visiting Cambria County Christian on Tuesday at the Owens Recreation Hall.
The Clearfield Alliance senior becomes just the third player in school history to accomplish the feat.
"I've watched her over the past five years," said Lady Crusaders head coach - and Alyssa's father - John Wharton, "spending her summers practicing, taking lessons and going to camps. My wife (Jenn) and I have told her for years, ‘if you do the work, it will pay off.'
"To see it pay off for her and for her to have the success that she has is really pleasing to me as a parent and as a coach."
Alyssa Wharton's 13-point first half had her squad out in front for a better part of the second quarter before the Lady Panthers went ahead on a buzzer-beating layup by Alexis Wolfe, who netted a game-high 17 points.
After converting a pair of foul shots with a minute left in the first half, Wharton missed her first two shot attempts of the second before her effort on the defensive end of the floor paid dividends.
Wharton picked a Lady Panther player's pocket and easily converted the wide-open layup on the other end.
Coach Wharton immediately called timeout, and the celebration was on with the Lady Crusaders trailing 25-22.
All three members of the Wharton family, including mother and assistant coach Jenn, exchanged hugs during an extended timeout.
The entire Lady Crusader squad posed for pictures with the Whartons, including Alyssa, who was presented with balloons and flowers to commemorate her accomplishment.
"It was one of those moments where you just take it all in," coach John Wharton said of the hugs. "We didn't want to make it about anything but about her and the team and the accomplishment that they did.
"We can look at this moment with her getting 1,000 points, but you have to look at the past years and teammates that she's had and the help she's had from them. It's a culmination of all of that."
Alyssa Wharton's feat provided a feel-good moment for the Lady Crusaders, but the Lady Panthers ended up spoiling the party.
Cambria County closed the third quarter by scoring four of the last six points, and carried the momentum against a worn down Clearfield Alliance squad all the way up to the final buzzer.
Wolfe and Natalie Sokira formed a inside-outside punch for the Lady Panthers that the Lady Crusaders didn't have an answer for, as the pair combined to score 32 of Cambria County's 38 points.
Cambria County's defense also played a pivotal role, as the Lady Panthers forced the hosts into committing 28 turnovers in the contest.
"I think we just lost our legs in the second half," said coach Wharton. "We didn't have as many players to go with, but I thought we fought hard and we didn't give up."
Alyssa Wharton found the sledding tough after completing her milestone, as she missed her final eight shots of the contest - several of which came within five feet of the hoop.
Wharton made one of two foul shots in the fourth to cap the scoring and finish with 16 points to accompany 21 rebounds.
Rachel Passmore added six points and 11 boards for the Lady Crusaders, who fell to 5-5 on the season.
"(Alyssa) is in there banging her head against the wall," coach Wharton said. "We had a lot of could-haves and a lot of baskets that rimmed in and rimmed out. ... I'd rather have gotten the win, but it's gratifying to see her get 1,000 points.
"It was something special for us. Obviously, she didn't have her best game tonight, but she did enough to get 1,000 points and keep us competitive in the game."
Clearfield Alliance hosts Huntingdon Calvary on Thursday.
Sokira 4 7-11 15, Berkebile 1 0-0 2, L. Maykovich 1 0-0 2, Wolfe 7 1-2 17, D. Maykovich 1 0-4 2, L. Billetdeaux 0 0-0 0, Garcia 0 0-0 0, P. Billetdeaux 0 0-0 0, Reed 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14 8-17 38.
Wharton 5 5-10 16, B. Folmar 1 0-0 2, R. Passmore 3 0-1 6, S. Folmar 2 1-2 5, G. Passmore 0 0-0 0, A. Passmore 0 0-0 0, Kumm 0 0-0 0. Totals: 11 6-13 29.
Three-pointers: Wolfe 2; Wharton.
Score by Quarters
Cambria County 9 8 12 9-38
Clearfield Alliance 8 8 8 5-29