Bessette reaches milestone
Manawa senior scores 1,000th point
By Holly Neumann
Laynie Bessette made basketball history and has a chance to make some more.
The Manawa senior scored her 1,000th point Dec. 6 during the Wolves’ 53-37 win over Tigerton and is only the fourth player in school history to reach the milestone.
“This is pretty incredible,” Bessette said. “Going into my freshman year, I did not think I could do it, but I did and it feels good.”
Manawa girls’ basketball coach Pat Collins described Bessette as a player that will leave a lasting impact on the program.
“She is fearless and one of the most competitive players you’ll see on the court,” he said. “She is super-athletic and does whatever is necessary to help the team.
“Right now, everybody is focusing on scoring 1,000 points, but she can do way more than just score,” he added. “Honestly, I would say the best thing about her game is the way she plays defense. She can guard anyone.”
Molly Lieberman is the last Manawa player to score more than 1,000 points in a career. She reached the milestone in the early 1990s.
“Manawa has only had four players ever – male or female – reach 1,000,” Collins said. “It takes multiple years of solid scoring.”
A player would need to average around 20 points per game over 2 1/2 seasons.
“Many players don’t get to varsity until they are a junior or senior, which makes it very difficult,” Collins said.
“I couldn’t have done it without my teammates and my coaches, especially my dad, because he always kept pushing me,” Bessette said. “I could not have done with without (teammate) Kellynn (Kaczorowski) by my side.”
Bessette ended up with a team-high 21 points to bring her career total to 1,007 points.
She is now eyeing the school record, currently held by Lieberman, of 1,280 points. Bessette would have to average 15.1 points per game for the rest of the season.
“Laynie is an outstanding basketball player,” Collins said. “She is good because she has put the time in, but more importantly, I am proud of her development as a person on and off the court. She was on a team that only won six games her freshman year. We have had some teams that had tough seasons and she has experienced disappointment. I am so proud of the work she put in despite the lack of early success.
“She has had some great teammates and people around her to support her,” he said. “Kellynn has been with her from the start of their careers and they have a great bond. Her parents are extremely supportive of her and have been involved with basketball from the start. Parental support is so important to achieve something like this.”
Bessette headed into the game needing 14 points to reach her goal of 1,000 and the crowd counted each point that she scored.
She scored 13 points in the first half to help the Wolves take a 29-10 lead at the break.
It didn’t take long for Bessette to reach her milestone in the second half and the crowd erupted with cheers as she was presented the game ball.
Tigerton outscored the Wolves 27-24 in the second half behind 18 points from Raven Dewhurst, who led all scorers with 24.