HARTVILLE It's always special when a high school basketball player scores their 1,000th career point.
However, it's a moment that typically highlights a player's senior season. Lake Center Christian junior Hannah Mang decided to celebrate her scoring milestone a season early.
Mang, the leading scorer for LCCS this season, tallied her 1,000th career point just past the halfway point in the season on a night she's likely to remember for a long time.
"The game was against Valley Christian at home on Jan. 29," Mang said. "Going into the game, I was nine points away and scored two three’s pretty quickly and then a layup off of a steal."
That scoring burst put Mang one point away from becoming just the third girls player in program history to hit the 1,000-point mark. She quickly followed it with a drive to the basket for an attempted layup, but was fouled and headed to the line for a chance to make history there.
Her subsequent charity toss elevated her to 1,000 points and given that she still had a big part of the season plus her senior year to go, it was also an encouraging accomplishment.
"It was such a great feeling. It was a goal I was hoping to achieve in my high school career. I had been working towards it ever since junior high when I was thinking about varsity basketball," Mang said. "My junior high coach, Dan Bauer, actually teased me saying he wanted me to get 1,000 points and 500 assists in high school."
Her current coach, Josh Van Riper, helped Mang keep track of how close she was and kept encouraging her towards that goal. She called it "incredible and such an honor since it is something that has only been accomplished by a handful of people" in LCCS history for both the boys and girls programs.
Reaching 1,000 points may have seemed like a tall mountain to climb when she started her high school career, but Mang still remembers her very first points at the varsity level. They came in her first game as a freshman at Canton Memorial Fieldhouse against Ellet.
She recalled how, after her milestone moment against Valley Christian, her coach when she was a freshman, Tim Keene, texted her and reminded her how nervous and shaky she was going into that first game against Ellet and how he wondered if she would even be able to catch the ball on account of her nerves.
"It has been fun growing as a player each year and getting over the shakiness,” Mang said.
The results this season, as well as last season, have been steps in the right direction for the Tigers. After several years struggling to win games and be consistently competitive, they reached double digit wins last season and went 9-14 this year, including 3-8 in the Portage Trail Conference.
Mang would undoubtedly like to see that win total rise next season and with it, perhaps set a few more school records and see if she can raise her chances to play at the next level if she chooses. However, her life won't be all basketball between now and the start of next season.
She's already into her spring sport, softball, and outside of that, she enjoys hiking and spending time with family and friends. She'll enter that senior season already the all-time leading scorer in program history and will have a chance to put that record even further out out reach for future LCCS players to pursue the way she's chased it to this point.
She also ends her junior year with a litany of memories beyond her 1,000-point feat.
"My other favorite moments from the season are probably becoming the all-time women's leading scorer at Lake Center, spending time with my teammates, beating Central Christian while scoring a career-high 42 points in a game and also our team winning close games against Coventry, Mogadore, and Valley Christian," Mang said.
It was quite the year for the high-scoring junior, even if it came sooner than the norm for most high school scoring standouts.