Weeks of anticipation and years of preparation finally culminated in one sweet moment, when George Mason senior Nicole Mitchell scored her 1000th point in the third quarter of a Mason 78-44 blowout against Central Woodstock. The milestone was obtained late in the third quarter, when senior point guard Chantal Thomas passed the ball to a trailing Mitchell on a fastbreak, which was finished off with a layup off the glass.
Mitchell came in to the final home game of her illustrious career needing 13 points to reach the magic 1000 mark, but it didn't appear that was going to be so easy early on. After a steal and a layup off an inbounds early in the game, Mitchell failed to put any more points on the board for a lengthy period of time, instead involving her teammates, which included hot shooting from sophomore Lauren Kane, and a dominating inside presence by freshman Stephanie Cheney.
However, Mitchell picked up the pace in the second quarter, starting off of two free throws. Then, Mitchell came down on consecutive possessions and drained two three pointers, bringing both her total to 10 and the crowd to their feet. Mitchell didn't score the rest of the period, but she didn't need to, as the Mustangs jumped to a 47-25 halftime lead.
After a spectacular barrage of acrobatic moves by senior Kelly Frank during halftime, which led senior Karen Hamill to declare that Frank was "[Mason's] best cheerleader," the Mustangs came out for the second half determined to give Mitchell the three points she needed to reach the milestone. But Coco, as she is affectionately known as by friends and peers, would struggle a bit to achieve that, as she didn't want to force up a shot for the mere purpose of scoring three points. Two attempted three pointers by Mitchell came up far short, and the crowd grew ever impatient.
Then, Mitchell received an alley-oop that was layed-in with 3:11 to go, leaving Mitchell and the penultimate 999 point mark. After a steal on the next possession, Mitchell decided to pass ahead to a running Thomas, which led to faux-anger from the student section. Thomas sensed the moment though, and turned around to deliver a picture perfect bounce pass to the running Mitchell, who finished off the break with the layup.
"I was so happy it was Chantal," said an exuberated Mitchell after the victory, "we've been playing together for so long."
Mitchell and Thomas are in their third consecutive season playing for the girls varsity team, which culminated last year when the two started together on the State Championship team. Mitchell added that "It was fitting."
The fourth year varsity veteran earned a prolonged standing ovation from both the crowd and her teammates following her 1000th and 1001st points, with an announcement to the crowd acknowledging the historical achievement.
After the crowd sat back down, Hamill put the meaning of the accomplishment in her perspective.
"After being a teammate of Nicole's for a couple of years [Hamill was a one-time basketball teammate of Mitchell, as well as on last year's State Champion soccer team], it is amazing to see how much talent she has, without being selfish on the court."
Added Hamill, "She's an amazing teammate."
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