Entering Port Jefferson’s final regular season game just 34 points away from becoming the 22nd player in Suffolk County girls’ basketball history to reach 2,000 career points, Courtney Lewis admitted she was anxious.
Her Thursday afternoon home game was rescheduled for Friday afternoon, only to be pushed back to a Saturday morning matchup as a result of last week’s snowstorm.
“It was stressful,” she said. “There was this build up, and I was so excited to finally get to the game.
When Lewis joined Port Jefferson’s varsity basketball team six years ago, she couldn’t have predicted the feat she would eventually achieve.
She reached 1,500 career points earlier this season, and at that point she said the thought of reaching 2,000 became a goal. The dream became a tangible milestone when she scored a field goal in the fourth quarter of her team’s 64-30 senior day win over Pierson-Bridgehampton Feb. 11. She finished with 39 points to move her to 2,005 for her career.
“Going into the game I knew I was 34 points away, so I told myself I wouldn’t think about it,” Lewis said. “But then, my coach pulled me out when there was two minutes left in the third quarter and said, ‘Do you know how many point away you are?’ and I said no. He told me I was three points away. I had no idea I was that close.”
Lewis scored the first nine points of the game for the Royals, on two field goals and a three-point play. In the second, she sank six more after converting a turnover and two offensive rebounds into three buckets.
Senior Jillian Colucci said she’s always marveled at what her teammate has been able to do on the court.
“Courtney is absolutely phenomenal,” she said. “When I dish the ball off to her she makes these nearly impossible shots and I just stand there in amazement.”
Lewis credited her teammates for her success.
“We did really well pushing the ball and looking for open girls,” she said. “We prepared all season and we’re ready to take on the playoffs.”
Several assists and multiple turnovers caused by the Royals’ defense helped her chip away at the 34 points until her goal was met.
“It was on today,” senior Corinne Scannell said. “We were working on our defense a lot in practice and it just shows that hard work pays off. We were able to get more traps and read their offense better. On the press we were also really good.”
Lewis needed three points heading into the final quarter, and after assisting on the first field goal of the quarter, she made a layup at the 5:49 mark to pull her within one point. She sank her 2,000th career point a minute later.
“It’s one of my best memories of basketball so far — being my senior year, my last home game, it’s great,” she said.
Colucci said the culmination of Lewis’ achievement, senior day and the team’s last game of the regular season made the victory sweeter.
“Being with these girls for the last time on this court, to win, it just tops off the season,” she said. “We had a lot of steals and we played really tough. This is my last sport, my last time playing in the Port Jefferson gym and it’s surreal, but it’s great to do it with these girls.”
With the win, Port Jefferson ended the regular season 15-1 and earned a share of the League VII title with Sayville.
“That was definitely our goal, so it feels incredible to have accomplished it,” Colucci said. “We’re working as hard as ever and I think we’re going to go far. We’re hoping that this isn’t the end.”