Lathrom reached the plateau during the third quarter of a 58-32 loss to Clark County at the Tony Lenzini Tournament in Palmyra on Tuesday night.
McKenzie Lathrom wanted to get it over with.
The Mark Twain junior took the ball, squared up to the basket and let fly a perfect 3-point connection — her 998th, 999th and 1,000th career points.
“I knew it was coming,” Lathrom said. “There was a lot of pressure with everyone here, and I was like, ‘You’ve got to get it in.’ It was relief. It’s something I’ve always wanted in my career.”
The milestone came during the third quarter of a 58-32 loss to Clark County at the Tony Lenzini Tournament in Palmyra on Tuesday night.
Despite the circumstances, it was a moment Lathrom is certain not to forget — though you couldn’t have told it by her initial reaction.
Immediately following the 3-point shot, she stoically backpedaled to her defensive position and only exchanged subdued high-fives with her excited teammates.
That’s not to say, though, the achievement did not carry heavy meaning for the 5-foot-4 point guard.
“She doesn’t always like the spotlight to be on her,” Mark Twain coach Alex Brandenburg said. “Sometimes, when it’s forced on her, she gets a little bit uncomfortable. She played it pretty well. I was proud of her for playing it cool.”
Lathrom became the sixth player in program history to reach 1,000 points. She is the first since Deidra Jarman hit the mark in 2010 during her senior season.
Lathrom said a key part of her evolution as a player the past three years has been finding creative ways to become a scorer.
“I’ve worked a lot,” she said. “There’s a lot of different ways that I score now. It’s not just layups. My shot has gotten better.”
The numbers back her up.
As a freshman in 2014-2015, Lathrom burst onto the scene to average 11 points per contest. One year later as a sophomore, she boosted those totals to 18 points, six rebounds and four assists.
And as it turns out, Lathrom’s junior campaign thus far has been her strongest yet. The point guard is averaging 20 points, five assists and five rebounds per game. She has racked up five or more steals in six games.
It’s the latter statistic — takeaways — that she said has allowed her to create more opportunities for herself on the court. She has already twice broken the school record for steals.
“Most times, steals turn into points,” she said.
Brandenburg said the 1,000-point plateau was a special achievement not only for Lathrom but for the whole team. That’s especially true considering the junior still has her whole senior year ahead of her.
“I’m excited for her,” Brandenburg said. “I’m really proud of her for the work she’s put in. She’s a very, very talented player and a really good scorer. Honestly, that it took her 63 games to get to that point is incredible.
“McKenzie is capable of doing almost everything on the floor for us. And she’s still improving. As a junior, she still has a lot of room to grow, to improve and become better. That’s great for us and kind of scary for our opponents.”