From the moment Colette Gall burst onto the scene as a freshman, she has seemingly been scoring baskets.
A four-year starter at Hanford High School, Gall recently set the school record for points in a career (1,412), breaking Tori Bakers record set in 1986-87. Baker went on to play at the University of Oregon.
I didnt really think about it over the years. I knew it was kind of reachable, Gall said. When I hit the shot and I was running back on defense, I was like, Oh my gosh, I just broke the school record. After the game, my coach announced it and I got the game ball.
Gall has at least one more game left in her star-studded career. The Falcons play at Shadle Park at 6 p.m. tonight in a Class 3A District 5/8 tournament elimination game. The winner will move within one game of the state regionals, a place Gall has never been.
I just want to win, she said. To be honest, Id rather go to state than break records or stuff. I really want our team to go far.
Without Galls scoring, though, the Falcons would certainly not be in this position. She led the Mid-Columbia Conference in scoring at 20.4 per game this season and has gotten better and better throughout her career.
I think that says a lot about who she is as a kid, as a person, Hanford coach Evan Woodward said. Her desire to get better and better. She has big goals for herself and a standard she wants to achieve. She set high marks and has worked to attain them. Its been a pleasure to coach her over these four years.
As a freshman, Gall was a bit of an unknown. She took the league by surprise, scoring 287 points, mainly through her post work.
As she got older, defenses started to focus on her and she realized she had to diversify her game to not only keep scoring, but also to attract colleges.
I knew that people would know who I was and I knew if I wanted to play college basketball, I would be a small post, she said. So I needed to be able to shoot outside and have an outside game and work on dribbling and be able to bring the ball up.
Gall focused on her all-around game while playing AAU ball for Mike Hodgins, the dad of the three Hodgins sisters who have been stars at Chiawana over the years.
On my AAU team, I was the fourth smallest player, she said. I was having to play a 3 or 2 and maybe a 1. Where on my high school team, I was having to fill the post spot.
Gall scored 335 points as a sophomore, 382 as a junior and has 408 this year.
It is rare when you see someone that good that early that continues to improve, Woodward said. (Normally) they hit bumps in the road, but she has improved each year which is a testament to her.
I dont think Im surprised, but Im impressed. Just excited how someone can continue to get better like that. She has worked on her game.
And she got the college scholarship she was after as well, signing a letter of intent to play for NCAA Division II Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho.
Before she fulfills her dream of playing at the next level, though, she has some unfinished business in her high school career. And that starts tonight.
w Craig Craker: 582-1509; firstname.lastname@example.org