By ANTHONY SPAULDING
Director of Communications
Pope John XXIII Regional High School|
SPARTA — In basketball, Kenna Squier knows how to score and do it well.
“Scoring is my thing,” the Pope John XXIII Regional High School junior guard said with a chuckle.
Squier’s greatest strength has led her to one of the greatest career milestones a high school girls basketball player could achieve: reaching 1,000 points.
Squier hit the 1,000-point plateau on Dec. 20 after scoring 13 points in the Lions’ 39-28 loss against Mendham at Mendham High School. Squier, who needed exactly 13 points going into the game, tallied points No. 999 and No. 1,000 on a fast break layup with about a minute left in the game.
Squier, who currently has 1,019 points after adding 19 points on Dec. 21 in Pope John’s 46-33 victory over New Providence, was so happy to accomplish the feat.
“It’s great,” Squier said. “There was a lot of work that went into it. It’s an honor.”
“I think it was huge accomplishment for Kenna to reach her 1,000th point,” Pope John head coach John Slackman said. “Kenna is a talented player and has a huge upside. Each day she is getting better in practice and understanding how to be a more effective player, not only on offensive but on the defensive side as well. She’s done well for us.”
Squier has been one of top scorers in the state since stepping on the hardwood back in 2015-16. She played her first two seasons at nearby Sussex Tech, amassing 951 points in 45 games after averaging 16.3 points per game as a freshman and averaging a whopping 25.8 as a sophomore — a year in which she finished third in the state in that category.
Squier admitted she had to go through a transitional period when she first started playing for Pope John, but she said that she has adjusted because of her natural scoring ability and her team-first approach — an asset she feels is as strong, if not stronger, than her ability to put the ball in the hole.
“I’m mostly thinking about them,” Squier said. “I just want to help them anyway I can. I want them to get good looks (at the basket) and do whatever is necessary to help us win.”
Squier has continued her scoring prowess for the Lions (1-3), as she has led the team in points in all four games after posting totals of 11, 25, 13 and 19, respectively. She has also recorded three straight double-doubles, giving her 18 for her career, after also grabbing 10 rebounds during her 25-Point performance against Hudson Catholic, 11 rebounds against Mendham and 11 rebounds against New Providence.
However, she will always remember hitting 1,000, which probably came on her easiest bucket of her career and not on her main go-to move — an isolation in which she hesitates to the right, then goes by the defender and finishes with a euro step layup. After she scored, Slackman took a timeout to stop the game and have Squier be recognized for the accomplishment, something now only six Pope John girls have ever done.
“It was an incredible night,” said Squier, who joined Patti Hoffman (1,640 points from 1973-77), Bridget Fox (1,175 from 1986-90), Donna Dolan (1,403 from 1994-98), Vanessa Moore (1,257 from 2005-09) and Alexis Breheny (1,398 from 2008-11) as 1,000-Point scorers for the Lions.
Now that she has netted this achievement, Squier hopes to help the Lions win as many games possible after their tough start to the season. She also has her sights set on another long-term goal: scoring 2,000 points. Newton High School’s Linda Cordes is the only Sussex County girl to have ever reached that mark, scoring 2,172 points from 1973-77.
“That would be great,” Squier said. “One of my old coaches came to the game (on Wednesday) and said to me, ‘This thousand is great, but 2,000 is next!’ That’s what I’m hoping for.”
One thing for sure is that she won’t stop trying to put the ball in the net.
“It (scoring) has always just been natural for me,” Squier said. “It is very important to my game because it brings me confidence and makes everything else about the game easier for me.”