JOPLIN — Former Neosho High standout and Missouri Southern senior guard Chelsey Henry looked back at her freshman season after reaching and surpassing 1,000 career points during Wednesday's 78-74 victory for the Lady Lions over Illinois-Springfield at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.
"I remember my freshman year, I watched Sharese Jones, 'Winkie' Jones, a lot of people remember her getting her 1,000th point," Henry said. "I remember being on the bench and seeing her, and her family had these huge signs. I remember thinking, as a freshman, I want to get that. I've worked hard to get that. I told my parents that when the time comes, 'Can you have those posters for me?' I guess everyone did. I didn't expect it. It's just proof that hard work pays off and I couldn't be more happy."
Henry found a big moment for such a milestone.
Late in regulation Wednesday with the teams deadlocked in a 74-all score. Henry had just split a pair of free throws and Chasidee Owens corraled the critical offensive rebound to maintain possession.
A few seconds later, with 84 seconds remaining, Henry drove to the basket and made a contested shot against Illinois-Springfield's Lauren Ladowski.
Henry drew the foul and made her free throw for an old-fashioned three-point play and a 77-74 Missouri Southern lead.
Henry needed 20 points entering the game to reach the plateau and she came through with a game-high 22.
Henry's teammates mobbed her in celebration, her loved ones held up a banner and even the cardboard cutout of Henry's head that had been made earlier during her career, and PA announcer Rob Emery called her milestone out.
"I think the best thing was just my teammates coming in and giving me hugs and supporting me," Henry said. "I think that's what I'm going to remember. I'm not going to remember how I made the shot. I'm going to remember my teammates and the crowd. I'm just super blessed with the teammates we have this year."
Just a few years ago, Henry reached 1,000 career points at Neosho High with a pair of free throws late in the Black Division championship game against Buffalo (Texas). Henry scored a game-high 23 points in that contest to help the Lady Wildcats repeat as tournament champions.
Henry became the 14th Missouri Southern women's basketball player to reach the milestone and the first since Jones in 2016.
The victory Wednesday gave Missouri Southern a 8-3 overall record headed into Christmas break.
The Lady Lions do not return to the courts until December 29 with a home game against NAIA school Tabor.
"We couldn't be more excited for break," Henry said. "It's always a good time. It's a good middle ground, it's almost two half-seasons for us. We get to go home and spend time with our families and come back and finish the second half. I'm already thinking about the games that are after break and even though we get a couple days off, it's really not off. We're going to be in the gym, we're going to get shots up, we're excited for it."