Doing something 1,000 times might seem monotonous or not worth the time of day. Imagine cleaning the dishes 1,000 times or sending 1,000 emails.
But scoring 1,000 points in a basketball career is special and having two people at the same school do it in the same year is rare, to say the least. Dawson County basketball players Jake Craft and Maddie Anglin both hit the 1,000 point milestone this season and are now leading the Tigers basketball teams into region tournaments.
For Anglin, basketball has always been a family affair. Both of her parents, and her brothers’, who now coach at the high school, all played the sport and passed the love of it on to her.
“Since birth, I’ve loved it,” Anglin said. “I’ve played other sports, but basketball has always been my number one.”
Craft said he’s loved basketball his whole life, but did not take it seriously until the sixth grade. He quit baseball and football to focus on becoming as good at basketball as he could.
Neither thousandth point happened at Ford Phillips Center in Dawsonville, but both knew the moment was coming.
Anglin said she struggled in the first half of the Tuesday, Feb. 2 game at North Hall because she was thinking too much about reaching the milestone. In the second half, a familiar face calmed her back down.
“Whenever I look at my dad, he keeps on cheering me on,” Anglin said. “Even in the beginning of that game, I was missing a lot of shots, but he kept cheering for me.”
She needed exactly 18 points and once she got it, Lady Tigers head coach Eric Herrick called a timeout and the team embraced around her. The team brought out a big banner and the points pushed the team to come back and win the game 44-38.
Craft needed 28 points in the Tiger’s 73-49 win over Gilmer on Jan. 26. In the fourth quarter, Craft had 20 points and his coaches informed him of the situation.
“Then, my teammates just started finding me and I got it,” Craft said. “The gym was super quiet though. I think a lot of people were confused and did not know what was going on.”
Anglin adds her name to a quickly growing list of Lady Tigers that have reached impressive milestones during their career. One of her former teammates, Kaylee Sticker, scored point number 1,500 while playing with Anglin. After looking up to Sticker early in her career, Anglin said it was an honor to join the group.
This is Craft’s first year at Dawson County High School. He had been with the Forsyth Central program his entire life, but when his coach resigned from Central at the end of Craft’s sophomore season, he left the team shortly after.
After deciding to leave at the end of his Junior year, Craft said he looked at other schools in Forsyth County, but his dad wanted him to come to Dawson.
Throughout his career at Forsyth Central, Craft said three points he scored in his sophomore year were the most memorable.
“We used to play this thing at Central called ‘Domecoming,’” Craft said. “On the first play, I came off a screen and just drained a three. The gym erupted. Domecoming is insane.”
Anglin said the points she remembers the most happened just a few weeks ago, during a 49-48 loss against Gilmer High School.
“At the very end of the game, Herrick wanted me to try to get a four-point play to tie the game up and I hit the craziest buzzer-beater three,” Anglin said. “I got fouled, but they didn’t call it. I was just surprised it went in and thought it was pretty cool.”
Both Craft and Anglin are the scoring leaders for their teams this season and are headed into the region tournament with something to prove. The Lady Tigers won their last two games of the season to tie North Hall for fourth place in the region, but the team lost a coin flip to host the game.
Anglin said she thinks the team is getting hot at the right time to make some noise in the region tournament.
“We’ve definitely sparked as a team these last few days and luckily, it was right when we needed to,” Anglin said. “We’re positive and full of energy. This is our first season with Herrick and we want to make a statement in the region that we’re not a joke, but competitors.”
Anglin said she knows that she will need to remain a key scorer for the team to win Thursday’s game against North Hall to earn a bid to the GHSA 3-A state tournament and a trip to the region semifinals against Lumpkin Co.
“I’ve taken a leadership role on this team,” Anglin said. “If I start doing well, it sparks the whole team and brings everyone's energy up. It’s a big motivation factor.”
The Tigers finished third in the region and will play the winner of a Gilmer and West Hall matchup at home on Thursday, Feb. 11. The Tigers are 4-0 against those teams this season, winning by an average of 30 points a game.
Assuming they clench a victory, Craft and the Tigers will get a rematch against Cherokee Bluff in the region semifinals. The Tigers won the first game of the season against Cherokee Bluff but surprisingly lost by double-digits against the Bears in their second match.
“We’ve just got to learn how to handle adversity better,” Craft said. “We believe we’re the best team, we have a lot of talent and our effort is there. We just need to come together whenever adversity hits. I feel like I need to score for us to win, but my teammates are the ones feeding me the ball and giving me the confidence to shoot. Even when I’m getting face guarded.”
After basketball season, Craft’s high school sports career will finish. He is getting recruited by multiple colleges to play basketball for them but has not made a decision yet.
“All the visits I’ve been on, the recruiter has told me to make sure I’d like going to this school even if I stopped playing basketball,” Craft said. “So I’ve been focusing on a campus or what brings a family feel.”
Anglin will play golf in the spring for Dawson County and has decided that she will not pursue a collegiate basketball career despite having collegiate offers. Instead, she will retire from athletics as a Tiger, something that’s very important to her.
“Being a Tiger makes me feel important with all the fans coming to support us,” Anglin said. “It makes me feel special.”
The Lady Tigers play Thursday, Feb. 11 at 6 p.m. against North Hall High School and the Tigers play at home at 6 p.m. on Feb. 11 as well.