BRANDT — Bethel girls basketball senior Kenna Gray never disappoints on the basketball floor.
And Thursday night at the Bee Hive against visiting Ansonia in CCC action was no exception.
Gray entered the game with 977 career points.
And with a road game next, the daughter of Chad and Mollee Gray wanted to makes sure she hit the milestone on her home court — even if she didn’t know the exact number she needed.
“I wasn’t really sure, because they kept throwing different numbers at me,” she said. “Definitely, I wanted to get it at home tonight.”
And Gray provided her usual dramatic flair.
Late in the fourth quarter, she was still three points away from the 23 points she needed in Bethel’s 73-29 victory.
After hitting two free throws, she was just point away, but the clock was down under two minutes to go.
“She only had eight points in the first half,” Bethel coach Corey Steinke said. “We didn’t really want her to know exactly what she needed — so we told her she needed to get going. We didn’t want it to happen in a road game.
“We told her the number was two, but I think she thought she needed two more baskets.”
With the clock down under 1:30, Gray took an outlet pass near mid-court and raced towards the basket.
As she layed it in, the home crowd and bench erupted and the game was stopped.
Her teammates and Steinke gave her hugs before she took the ball over to her father Chad and gave him a hug.
“I didn’t know (that the basket gave her 1,001 points),” Gray said. “But, when everybody started celebrating, I figured it did.”
Steinke said it was a special moment.
“I have only had two players I coached get 1,000 points,” he said. “And she was the first one (he coached) at Bethel. That is a tremendous accomplishment and we have another girl (Liv Reittinger) who is hoping to do it before the season is over.”
Equally important for Bethel is the fact the Bees have stepped up their game.
They were coming off a seven-point loss to state-ranked Tri-Village.
“I think that showed the girls something,” Steinke said. “We played a really good game against a very good game. I think that has given them something to play for the rest of the season.”
Bethel has now improved to 6-5 overall and 3-3 in the CCC.
“We played really well against Tri-Village,” Gray said. “I think we only had something like seven or eight turnovers. I think it gave us a lot of confidence.”
Against Ansonia, Bethel 29-16 at halftime, before scoring the first 17 points of the second half and outscoring Ansonia 26-3 in the third quarter.
Natalie Moorman hit three 3-pointers in the quarter, Gray had eight points and Reittinger added seven, with Skylar Johnson picking up a basket.
Reittinger joined Gray with 24 points, while Moorman and Moore both added nine points each.
“Scoring 1,000 points was always one of my long range goals,” Gray said. “So, it feels good to have done it. It probably does (take some weight off her shoulders).”
After a milestone night where Gray gave the home crowd plenty to celebrate.