The Lakers (17-7, 7-2 Ozark Conference) finished tied for second in the conference, recently won the Bolivar Tournament and head into districts as the top seed in the bracket. And through all that success, two major milestones were recently accomplished as senior Coley Rezabek scored her 1,000th career point and Coach Staci Caffey picked up her 100th career win with the Lakers.

Good things have been happening for Camdenton.

The Lakers (17-7, 7-2 Ozark Conference) finished tied for second in the conference, recently won the Bolivar Tournament and head into districts as the top seed in the bracket. And through all that success, two major milestones were recently accomplished as senior Coley Rezabek scored her 1,000th career point and Coach Staci Caffey picked up her 100th career win with the Lakers.

Not a bad way to head into the postseason indeed. Both Rezabek and Caffey would be the first to say that their milestones are the result of a complete team effort and perhaps it is that same concept of teamwork that will lead the Lakers to even more success.

Rezabek’s big night came in a conference battle at Rolla on February 8 where she was just 11 points shy of hitting her mark heading into the contest. It did not take her long to reach it though, as she did so by the second quarter, and what made it even better was the fact that she had no idea what she had just accomplished until the ball fell through the bottom of the net.

With the stoppage of play, Rezabek was slightly confused at first thinking the referee had called a technical, but she quickly figured out what was going on.

“It was honestly a shock,” Rezabek said of the big bucket. “I shot a little floater and all of a sudden I look around and Abbie (Miller) is jumping up and down. I look to the crowd and they have all these 1,000-point signs.

“That is when it hit me. I realized all the hard work has paid off and I could not do it without my teammates and coaches who pushed me to get there. So, more importantly I want to thank them for getting me there.”

As fate would have it, Rezabek hit the mark in the same gym where 2016 graduate Sophie Shore had done so two years prior. Rezabek also gets to join her older sister Bailey (2016 graduate) on Camdenton’s wall of 1,000-point scorers near the locker room along with Alyssa Ripley, Haley Baker and Whitney Snow. Rezabek is in fairly good company, but Caffey said her value goes way beyond the ability to score.

“It has been kind of nice having a Rezabek on the court every year, so I don’t know what I’m going to do next year. I asked if there is a relative and there is not,” Caffey joked looking back on her six years at Camdenton. “But they are awesome young ladies. I spoke really highly of Bailey and Coley is nothing short of that. She comes out and gives you everything she has and is just an all-around great player.

“She takes it to the hole when she needs to, but also sees the court and does a great job with getting assists,” the coach added. It is not all about scoring with her and I think that is why she can have such big games. She has a lot of double-doubles this year and has done a great job all the way around.”

While Rezabek certainly has talent, the skills she possesses did not just fall in her lap and she did not hesitate to point out the kind of work it took that went beyond practice. She spent extra hours in the gym, did summer workouts and continued to get shots up while visiting her father in Minnesota.

“It definitely took a lot of hard work when nobody was watching,” the senior noted. “People think I just go up there (Minnesota) and miss all the basketball stuff down here, but really every day I am working out in the gym and doing basketball stuff. So, definitely that and the coaches who have pushed me. Coach Caffey pushes me to my max potential and that is why I got here.”

Of course, there was always a little time to get a few shots up with older sister as well.

“We go to the gym all the time. Heck, she calls me at 12 and sometimes says, ‘Hey do you want to go to the gym?’ And I’m like, ‘Bailey, I’m trying to sleep,’” Rezabek said laughingly. “Playing against her has helped too and now to be up on the wall with my sister is pretty awesome.”

Rezabek earned her spot on the wall in just three years on the hardwood with Camdenton and Caffey noted how much fun it has been to watch her game develop year after year. The coach challenges Rezabek to develop another part of her game each year and the senior has excelled each time.

“This year it was playing strong and playing big. Last year, a lot of teams were able to shut her down and dominate her on the inside,” the coach remarked. “This year, I feel like it’s a completely different type of game. She can shoot it outside, she can play with her back to the basket and take it to the hole too.”

That success was no more evident than a game against Waynesville on February 5 where Rezabek drove the length of the floor in the final seconds and nailed a shot while getting fouled for a 3-point play that helped her team pull out a win. That mental edge is a trait other players would do well to take note of.

“Those are the things she is capable of doing because she has that mental competitiveness that she wants to get better each time she steps on the court,” Caffey added. “Like I tell the girls, ‘Set goals,’ and she is definitely a goal-setter and goes after it,” the coach stated.

Rezabek has walked by that 1,000-point wall many times and often wondered what it would be like to earn her spot up there. Now, she no longer has to wonder.

“When that day came, I came to school, looked up there and said, ‘In a couple months my picture will be up there.’ It is fun to see because when you graduate you are still up there and people can remember you as a Lady Laker scoring 1,000 points, which is pretty cool,” the senior said.

Not too long after, a game at Bolivar turned into another special night for the program as the Lakers topped the Liberators 76-61 for a tournament title in the regular season finale. It also just happened to be the 100th win of Caffey’s career at Camdenton and the team posed for a picture with tournament title in hand along with a big sign that said, ‘Congrats Coach on 100 wins,’ but Caffey quickly credited her players.

“It is very exciting and really neat because each one of these girls that have made the impact on that goal has been huge. They are the reason that the goal has even been met, so that is awesome,” she said.

Caffey began coaching while doing her student-teaching at Strafford and since then she has made stops at Marshfield, Mountain Grove and Conway coaching basketball and volleyball. She arrived at Camdenton six years ago and it has been a fun journey for her ever since.

“It has been an amazing experience and I love every bit of it. It’s kind of like God definitely placed me in the right place,” Caffey said of getting to coach the Lakers. “I am blessed with the young ladies I have been able to coach and the mentality they’ve had. I am a very intense coach and these girls have stepped up.

“We always say we want our players to run through the brick wall, but I think my girls also know I would run through the brick wall for them too. That is just the kind of relationship we have,” the coach added. “I think these girls have definitely made me a better coach and made that accomplishment big.”

One player who has definitely bought into that mindset is Rezabek and the senior said it was ok for her coach to take a little credit.

“I learn something new from her every day. She is an excellent coach and yes, she says it is us that got her the 100th, but she really needs to give herself more credit than she does,” the senior said with a smile.

“It is truly an honor to play here and play for the Lady Lakers. It is something that if you get to be a part of it, it is something special because it is not just a basketball team. We are a family and we love each other and care for each other.”

And now that family will look to do a little more winning. The Lakers will take on rival Lebanon in the Class 5 District 10 semifinals at Willard on Monday night at 6 p.m. Should they win, they will face the winner of Waynesville and Willard in the district title game on Friday at the same time.

“Each year we’ve had different challenges, but since I’ve been here we’ve won a district championship, a conference championship, the Arkansas Elite Tournament and the Bolivar Tournament. These girls have done an amazing job having successful seasons and we still have a lot left in this season,” Caffey noted. “The girls are ready to move forward, go to the next round and we are completely excited about it.”