LAKE PLACID - If Megan Riley was going to score her 1,000th career point against the AuSable Valley Lady Patriots Feb. 8, it was going to have to be the hard way.
Riley and the rest of her Lake Placid Lady Blue Bomber teammates were not just facing a team looking to clinch he CVAC Division II title in the Patriots, but also going up against one of the top defenders in the league in Savannah Douglas.
While Douglas and the Patriots did their part, with Douglas holding Riley to six points while guarding her and the Patriots rallying from a first quarter deficit to score a 55-40 division-clinching victory, Riley also got her shot.
With about 15 second left in the game, Danielle Balestrini stole the ball from the Patriots in the frontcourt, finding teammate Stephanie Murphy. Murphy, knowing her team captain and leader was two points shy of the milestone, quickly found Riley and passed the ball to her.
Riley then split through two defenders, got to the basket and put up a short layup which found its way through the basket, sparking an explosion of relief and celebration from both the Lady Blue Bombers and the Lake Placid crowd.
"I didn't think I was going to get it," Riley said, who entered the fourth quarter two points shy of the mark but nursing four personal fouls, one away from ejection. "I was starting to think it was going to have to wait until the next game."
As time seemed to move faster than normal in the fourth quarter, fans grew anxious with the shrinking clock and the four corners offense being run by the Patriots late.
"When it was a 10-point game, we needed to work the clock and give them as few opportunities as possible," AuSable coach Roger Long said. "If Riley had gotten hot, they could have made it a game real quick. We wanted to make sure we had the win, and then, to be honest, I was hoping that she would get the basket."
Long said that it was fitting that Riley would score her 1,000th career point against the Patriots on her home court, since Riley and the Bombers were the opponent when Patriots star Alexis Coolidge reached the same milestone of 1,000 career points earlier in the season.
"I was very happy for her," said Coolidge. "It was fitting that we could play against each other when we each scored our 1,000th point.
After the game, along with the praise for Riley, there was also a lot said about the girl who defended her and held her to a 10.5 average.
"Savannah does all the things that do not show up in the score book," Long said about his senior guard/forward Douglas. "She bumps in the post and denies the ball on the wing. She gives everything that she has on the defensive end and that means a lot to our team."
The win clinched the fourth straight CVAC Division II title for the Patriots.
"Kayla (Taylor) and Alexis (Coolidge) have been here for all of them," Long said. "It's a great accomplishment, but now we need to work hard in practice and wait to find out the road that we will have to go through in sectionals."