Facing a Colonel Crawford team with only one player in its rotation bigger than 5-6, it did not take long for Upper Sandusky to assert itself and for 6-1 forward Taylor Graboski to score her 1,000th career point.
Coming in 11 points shy of the milestone, Graboski became the eighth girls basketball player in school history to reach the mark, doing so with a three-point play with 6.2 seconds left in the first quarter. She finished with 26 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks despite going to the bench early in the fourth quarter to watch the rest of a 58-33 Rams victory.
“It means a lot to me,” Graboski said. “I remember when I was little and I was the ball girl and my sister got it and she was always a role model to me when I was younger. I realized that was such a great feeling for her and I wanted it for myself one day.”
Taylor’s older sister, Natasha, was a member of the class of 2006 and went on to play at the University of Cincinnati and Stetson University. Taylor will continue her athletic career in college playing volleyball at Valparaiso University.
Kalene Johnson finished with 10 points and nine rebounds and Emma Smith and Jenna Holly scored eight points apiece for Upper Sandusky (5-4, 3-2 North Central Conference).
Graboski had a putback with about two minutes left in the first quarter to give the Rams a 16-0 advantage.
Kristen Teglovic finally got Colonel Crawford on the board with back-to-back baskets before the milestone score for Graboski, who missed in the post, but got the ball back after a Jaime Calvin rebound. She scored and was fouled by Teglovic, and after she converted the free throw, the game was stopped to celebrate the moment.
“She’s a good player; there’s no question about it,” Upper Sandusky coach Brent Fahle said. “She’s probably one of the best players we’ve coached, boys or girls.”
Graboski went to the bench with her second foul with 6:08 remaining in the first half but her teammates picked up the slack and continued to build on the lead, extending it to 33-14 by halftime.
“It was a good start,” Fahle said. “I thought we were focused. I thought everyone seemed into it mentally. I thought we capitalized on some of their mistakes early, which helped us get that lead.”
After committing 13 turnovers in the first quarter, the Eagles (1-9, 1-5 NCC) had seven more miscues to finish with 20 in the first half.
Back onto the court in the second half, Graboski went back to work with a 13-point third quarter that helped extend Upper Sandusky’s lead to 52-23.
“She’s athletic and big and we just don’t have any size to match her right now,” Colonel Crawford coach Kyle Fenner said.
Alexus Burkhart paced the Eagles with 11 points and seven steals.
Smith had five steals in the first half alone and tallied six assists in the game.
“This is the first time in our press all year that we moved and trapped pretty well and we denied the first pass out of the trap,” Fahle said. “Everyone moved. We looked really quick in our press and we had our arms up. We were in a defensive stance, which helps, too.”
Colonel Crawford held on to win the junior varsity game, 32-30. Claire Ehmann had 10 points for the Eagles, while Alaney Oney had eight for the Rams.
Upper Sandusky hosts Bellevue at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
COLONEL CRAWFORD (1-9, 1-5 NCC): Burkhart 4-3-11, Teglovic 4-0-8, Sager 2-1-6, Siegel 1-2-4, Klingenberger 1-0-2, Gwirtz 1-0-2. Totals 13-45 6-10 33.
UPPER SANDUSKY (5-4, 3-2 NCC): Graboski 12-2-26, Johnson 4-2-10, Smith 4-0-8, Holly 2-4-8, Stover 3-0-6. Totals 25-47 8-18 58.
3-point goals: Sager.
Score by quarters
Colonel Crawford 4 10 9 10 — 33
Upper Sandusky 19 14 19 6 — 58
Junior varsity: Colonel Crawford won, 32-30.
By LONNIE McMILLAN