Ellie O'Neill Joins Collingswood's 1,000-Point Club
The senior point guard scored points 1,000 and 1,001 just 33 seconds into Tuesday's contest against Sterling. Despite her milestone, the Panthers lost the tilt, 46-31.
With two sisters on the team and a mother who is the head coach, seeing a bunch of family members at a Collingswood High School girls basketball team is nothing new for senior Ellie O’Neill.
But O’Neill became suspicious when she looked on the crowd Tuesday night and saw a bunch of other extended family members ready to cheer her on.
“I was asking why my family was here and was wondering what the big deal was,” O’Neil said.
She wouldn’t have to wait long to find out. O’Neill collected a lose ball on the defensive end, raced all the way down the court, and laid it in just 33 seconds into the Panthers’ contest with Sterling for her 1,000th and 1,001st career points.
As soon as the ball went through the hoop, play was stopped, and her teammates mobbed O’Neill with hugs.
Since she'd had no idea how close she was to breaking the record, the sudden stoppage caught the talented senior by surprise.
“I didn’t want to know how many (points) I had this season,” O’Neill said. “I didn’t want to freak out about it. When I got it, I was surprised. I was like 'I only needed two more?’ Then they told me I only needed one. It was awesome.”
So was finding out why so many family members were in attendance.
“When I scored it just made it that much more special for me,” she said.
O’Neill has been an important part of the Panthers’ team since she emerged as the team’s starting point guard in her sophomore year. This season, she has been a steady scorer for a defensive-minded squad that should be a serious contender when the NJSIAA South Jersey Group 2 playoffs get going next week.
Even before O’Neill suited up for Collingswood, she was familiar with the scoring success of some of the members of the 1,000-point club. Now that’s she’s the ninth member of the exclusive group, O’Neill has an even greater appreciation of what it takes to reach the milestone.
“It means a lot,” she said. “I have watched so many of the kids that my mom’s coached get 1,000 and thought that I could never do that, but here I am.”
The rest of the night did not go as well as the Panthers had hoped. Collingswood held a 12-11 lead at the half, but Sterling used a 14-4 third-quarter run to pull away for a 46-31 win. The Knights did most of their work from the free-throw line, where they scored 20 points.