Nya Searight, a junior forward on the Springside Chestnut Hill Academy (SCH) girls’ basketball team, scored the 1,000th point of her varsity career in a game against The Baldwin School at the Baldwin Athletic Center Tuesday night.
Searight entered the contest needing just four more points to snag glory. She started off slow offensively, making just three free throws on six attempts and shooting zero of four from the floor in the first quarter.
“A slow start, just nerves really,” Searight said after the game.
However, her big moment came at the 4:51 mark in the second quarter when she cut to the basket, caught an entry pass on the left low block and laid the ball up off the glass to eclipse 1,000.
“I was just really excited, I don’t know. It was just, it was big, it was really big for me,” Searight said.
Immediately after the ball fell through the nylon, the referees blew their whistles and the game came to a pause to celebrate Searight’s accomplishment. During the break in action, Searight walked back towards her bench, where her entire team huddled around her to embrace her.
In the huddle, SCH head coach Matthew Paul handed Searight a bouquet of flowers and the game ball she had put into the basket just a few moments ago.
“I think she’s elevated our program quickly with just her talent, her willingness to listen and be coached,” said coach Paul.
He continued, “You know, where we were as a program last year to where we are now has a lot to do with her and her ability to put the ball in the basket. She’s our leading scorer, she’s asked to do a lot of things on the court for us, and obviously she’s a tremendous leader and captain for us this year.”
After receiving flowers and the game ball from Paul, Searight headed to center court, cheered on by coaches, teammates and several family members in attendance. She posed there for pictures, first alone and then with family, for close to a minute. When Searight returned to the bench area, the court was cleared and the game resumed.
Despite Searight’s personal accolade, SCH struggled to click early on and trailed The Baldwin School for almost the entire first half. At halftime, the score was 18-10 in favor of The Baldwin School.
However, SCH came out looking like a different team in the third quarter, led primarily by Searight on the offensive end. SCH was able to pressure The Baldwin Schools’ guards and forced turnovers in the half court, which resulted in multiple fast break opportunities that Searight finished off with layups.
“Me and my team picked it back up with the defense. So that’s what created the offense for us,” Searight said.
SCH outscored The Baldwin School 20-7 in the third quarter and Searight had 10 of her points during that period. At one point in the third, she scored eight straight for SCH.
“Her teammates look for her. They know that she’s the scorer, and when you play team basketball you look for your scorers,” coach Paul said.
After entering the fourth quarter with a 30-25 lead, SCH was able to fend off a late comeback from The Baldwin School and finish with a 39-31 victory. Searight finished with a team high 16 points.
“Nya needs to score for us to win, and she scored for us today,” coach Paul said.
With the win, SCH improved to 9-12 on the season. The Baldwin School fell to 3-16 with the loss, and its current losing streak was extended to eight games.
(Video By Ricky Sayer)