The Northern Lebanon girls are more about the team than the individual. Much more, really.
But that doesn't mean the Vikings don't enjoy having one of their member's personal milestones mixed in with some collective success.
Northern Lebanon enjoyed the best of both worlds on Tuesday night, as senior forward Megan Brandt reached the career 1,000-point mark in a gritty 47-36 win over McCaskey in the opening round of the Lebanon Booster Club Holiday Tournament.
Needing 19 points for 1,000 heading into the night, Brandt dropped in 20, reaching the magic number on a putback with a little over a minute left that was part of a decisive 18-8 Northern Lebanon run through the fourth quarter.
Now 7-1, the Vikings will now meet unbeaten New Oxford, a 67-23 winner over Lebanon, in Wednesday night's 7:30 p.m. championship game.
"Nobody could deserve it more,"Northern Lebanon coach Ken Battistelli said of the unselfish Brandt joining the 1,000-point club. "She's always gotten credit for being such a stellar defender that people don't realize...I think she's done a great job of handling the approach of 1,000. I can't tell a difference in the way she's playing. She's taken shots I wanted her to take, she's been aggressive. She's solid, solid upstairs."
And the slender Brandt did so on Tuesday while doing battle with a big, physical McCaskey frontline led by Ahnera Parker, who led the Red Tornado (4-4) with 14 points. She also did it in tribute to older sister Emily Brandt, a former NL standout who was hampered by injuries that prevented her from reaching 1,000 points.
"It means a lot," Brandt said. "Emily couldn't get her 1,000 because of her knee injuries, so it was kinda for the both of us. They were very strong underneath the basket, it was hard to fight around them. I didn't know I had it at first - I'm awful at keeping track of my points - so when the timeout was called I kinda looked around and Zoe (Zerman) and Amber (Kintzer) were running at me. It was really exciting."
Brandt and fellow seniors Zerman and Kintzer brought the victory home, combining for all 18 of NL's points in the fourth quarter to turn a tense 29-28 lead into a comfortable 11-point victory.
Zerman dropped in 13 of her 15 points after intermission. including six clutch free throws in the fourth, and Kintzer hit two key jumpers in the final frame to help the Vikes open up some space.
Coming up big in the fourth also helped the Vikings exorcise some demons still hanging around after last week's loss to Lebanon Catholic, in which a nine-point fourth quarter lead slipped away.
"McCaskey is terribly athletic, and they've got some of the biggest kids I've ever seen in my life," Battistelli said. "It was ugly, we just had to hang in there until we hit our little spurt. I was happy our defense held up, because if it hadn't we would have been in trouble."
"Coming off that loss to Lebanon Catholic, we're still fighting back, trying to get those wins," Brandt. "It's gonna burn a little bit until we get that one back. They (McCaskey) are a big school, so it means a lot."
New Oxford 67, Lebanon 23
In the nightcap on Tuesday night, the host Cedars fell behind 31-5 by the midway point of the second quarter on the way to dropping to 0-7 for the season.
Destiny Infante was a bright spot for Lebanon with 17 points, but it wasn't enough to keep Lebanon competitive as it tries to start over after the off-season transfers of starters Alexis Hill and Jasmine Turner and the season-ending knee injury to point guard Maddy Hartman.
"They're all role players, and we're asking them to do things they're not used to doing," Lebanon coach Jaime Walborn said. "It's not that they're not capable, they just have to learn those skills. They always play hard, and the morale is good on the team. We have a really good group of kids. The things we're teaching them, they're doing. It's just a slow process."
Northern Lebanon 47, McCaskey 36
Jonson 1 2-2 4, Short 0 0-0 0, Parker 6 0-1 14, Gibson 2 0-0 4, Perry 1 2-4 4, Richardson 3 0-0 6, Todd 2 0-0 4.. Totals — 15 4-7 36.
Northern Lebanon (47)
Ray 0 0-0 0, Voight 1 0-0 2, Brandt 9 1-3 20, Kintzer 2 0-4 4, Zara Zerman 2 2-2 6, Zoe Zerman 4 6-8 15. Totals — 18 9-17 47.
Northern Lebanon 9 9 11 18 — 47
McCaskey 8 7 13 8 — 36
3-point goals — M: Parker 2, NL: Brandt, Zoe Zerman.
New Oxford 67, Lebanon 23
Stabler 2 0-0 4, Sauter 2 2-4 6, Berryhill 4 0-1 8, Still 2 3-4 8, Nailor 3 2-2 10, Luckabaugh 3 0-2 7, Smith 2 0-0 4, Long 4 6-8 14, Slonaker 0 2-2 2, Slusser2 0-0 4. Totals — 24 15-23 67
Infante 6 2-2 17, Sanders 0 0-0 0, Roth 0 0-0 0, Yorty 0 0-0 0, Zechman 0 0-0 0, Ortolaza 3 0-0 6, Gass 0 0-0 0, Bowman 0 0-0 0, Deufel 0 0-0 0. Totals — 9 2-2 23
New Oxford 21 18 15 13 — 67
Lebanon 5 5 9 4 — 23
3-point goals — NO: Nailor 2, Luckabaugh, Still, L: Infante 3.