Camdenton senior Natalie Basham thought the opportunity may have passed by.
After missing a significant portion of her junior season due to injury, scoring 1,000 career points seemed out of reach but that narrative no longer existed after a game at Parkview on January 24. The senior hit the milestone basket during an overtime battle with the Vikings and it did not take her long to figure out what happened as she looked up and saw a host of 1,000-point signs and her picture.
“We called a timeout where everyone was cheering and jumping on me. I did not want to react too much, but it was exciting and a great moment to share with my teammates,” Basham said. “I just remember when Coley (Rezabek) got it and I kind of wanted one of my own.
“I pushed hard this year and came out with it so it feels good.”
Rezabek, a 2018 graduate, accomplished the feat last season and received the honor of having her photo go up on a wall near the locker room next to other Lakers who have reached that mark. Now, Basham will join that club of six Lakers who have hit the mark in the past decade and she may finish in the top three or four.
“It is pretty exciting. I just know those girls worked so hard for it and there are not many that can be in that club, but to be one of them is tremendous,” the newest member noted. “It is kind of awesome to know I’ll always be up there for that.”
Camdenton coach Staci Caffey would certainly make the case that she is deserving knowing how offensive-minded and athletic the senior is and how dedicated she is to get to the rim. However, it was Basham’s ability to grow and develop that allowed her to consistently find ways of putting the ball through the hoop.
One of those areas of improvement was the ability to hit 3-pointers that made her a threat from anywhere on the court instead of someone who only looked to drive to the basket.
“Her outside shot has really blossomed this year. She has turned into a guard that is hard to defend because she can drive and get to the rim, but at the same time step back and pull up for the 3-pointer too,” the coach remarked. “She has turned it around to being an all-around great tool for me, but hard to guard for others.”
At the same time, Basham was able to utilize her teammates as well to create open looks. Caffey said that it has never been about one player getting all the points and with a team concept, one of the best things that can happen is an opposing team never being able to double team anyone and being subject to one-on-one matchups that her players are ready for.
“Each year she had developed where teams are putting their stronger defenders on her,” the coach pointed out. “As her game has developed, she has used her teammates to really benefit and help from it without even realizing it. She is an unselfish player, gets out and gets after it… She is a fun athlete to coach, watch and play with.”
Basham said being able to reach 1,000 points takes a little heart and dedication, especially after the adversity she faced as a junior, but she knows full well that it does not happen without teammates.
“I love the team aspect of it, just getting to show your talent out there and have your teammates with you is just awesome,” she said of the sport.
“I could not have done it without them, that’s for sure. We are a team and we win and lose as a team so without them I would not have got it.”
Then, there’s defense. Basham became the fifth Laker to hit 1,000 career points since 2016 and Caffey said it is no accident from a defensive perspective as well.
“I think that just shows our style of play. A lot of times, the stronger defender you are the more points you are going to score,” she said of the trend. “That compliments her defensive skills as well. You look at Coley, who averaged three steals a game, well she was a leading scorer. I think a lot of that is when you are defensive-minded, you are going to get offensive points just by crashing the boards, rebounding and getting steals.”
It all just goes to show that anything is possible for those willing to put in the work, even if that person misses a significant amount of time.