YELLOW SPRINGS — They might need a new banner in the Yellow Springs High School gymnasium.
The current one reads “1,147 and counting + …Elizabeth Smith” and then the banner has the 18 point totals Yellow Springs senior Liz Smith has scored thus far this season. The banner is running out of room.
Smith needed until there were 50 seconds left in Thursday’s Feb. 2 girls basketball game with Miami Valley to surpass the 1,500 point mark in her career.
Upon reaching the milestone on a free throw attempt, teammates Jasmine Davidson and Ayanna Madison shook her hand. Seconds later, Morgan Minnich and Julian Roberts came up to her from behind with more congratulations. Play was stopped and Yellow Springs Athletic Director Nate Baker presented Smith with a plaque congratulating her for her achievement.
After Thursday’s 59-51 loss to Miami Valley, Smith asked to do interviews after the team met in the girls locker room, but she still hadn’t left when this writer had to leave. Yellow Springs coach Tim Minnich admitted that the team was distracted, especially in the first half, with getting Smith her 1,500th point.
“Sure it was a distraction. The girls were talking a lot about getting her the ball. I mean, she gets the ball enough anyway, but in that first quarter, my daughter (Morgan) was passing up on a lot of shots she normally would take. In lieu of that, I think we were trying to get the ball over to her a little quicker. I would’ve been okay if we’d have waited until next game. We’re home then for Senior Night (6:45 p.m. Monday, Feb. 6 against Dayton Christian).
“This team is used to Liz being the lead dog. In the second half, you saw that they played a lot better together. But we were just too far down to come back. We’re all very proud of Liz and her accomplishment, though.”
Rams coach Randy Duff said it takes a special player to reach that scoring mark.
“When you have a kid that shoots 1,500 points in their career, they’re pretty special,” Duff said. “We’ve got one of those: Tia Karras. Coming into tonight, I think she had 1,510. Liz Smith has carried this team and the Yellow Springs program for four years, and we were well aware of that. She’s very talented.”
Karras led the Metro Buckeye Conference leading Rams (14-3, 6-1 MBC) with a game-high 25 points, and Miami Valley teammate Alyssa Clements was next with 21.
Smith led the Bulldogs (9-9, 4-4 MBC) with 23, and now has 1,501 points in her four-year high school career. Madison finished with 13 points and Minnich tossed in 10.
“I’ve never had a team play as hard as they do. We’re just not skilled,” Yellow Springs coach Minnich said. “I took this program over when they’d won two games all season, and we’re 9-9 right now, and these girls played Miami Valley to a two-point game at halftime the last time we played them. …. We played like we could in that second half. Unfortunately, we live and die by that outside shot.”