When the South Webster Jeeps took the court Saturday, junior sensation Ellie Jo Johnson knew it was going to be a special day.
South Webster had a chance to win a sectional championship while Johnson was pursuing her own personal milestone. Although she didn’t know the exact number she needed, she knew the magic number was within reach.
“I knew I was close but I didn’t know how far away I was,” Johnson said. “My whole team knew. My whole family knew. Everyone knew but I didn’t know. After I would score, I kind of would look over to see if I got it.”
As halftime approached, Johnson finished with 12 points. However, early in the third quarter, the celebration would commence. Johnson was fouled on a shot and awarded two free throws. She made both and then turned around to run back down court when she heard the horn blow.
“My whole team came out and hugged me. I just started crying. I got so emotional,” Johnson said.
Johnson said she was elated to become the 10th lady Jeep to reach the 1,000-point club.
“This is something I’ve been trying to get ever since I’ve seen Kayla Cook and Kacie Hall, who I played with last year and she got her 1,000th point,” Johnson said. “I knew that was something that I wanted. Ever since then, that was one of my biggest goals along with playing college ball. To top it all off, we ended up winning and we were sectional champs. So it was a great day.”
Jeeps head coach Kristie Johnson said she was proud of her junior.
“I am very proud of her,” Johnson said. “She has grown up in the gym and watched other girls achieve this goal. After witnessing them, she set it as a goal for herself and has worked very hard to reach it.”
On a season where Johnson averaged 17.8 points per game and 9.6 rebounds per game, the junior star said she was grateful to capture a sectional title and achieve her career milestone on the same day because the Jeeps were picked as a middle of the road team at the beginning of the season.
“It was great because a lot of people didn’t expect us to go .500, so that was a huge accomplishment for not just me but for my team in general,” Johnson said. “We were pushing to get a really high seed, which we got the two seed. And we wanted to be sectional champs from the beginning. Our coach asked us what we wanted out of this season, we said a sectional championship and we wanted to win districts and we want to go better than .500. Those were some of our goals at the beginning of the year and we worked hard for that. So, being sectional champs and getting to 1,000 points all in one day was a huge accomplishment. It was a day that I’ll definitely remember.”
Johnson wanted to achieve the milestone her junior season and not have to carry the anxiety over into her senior campaign. She also wants to have her college destination out of the way before her senior season — in fact, Johnson hopes to be able to choose a college by April.
She has several options to choose from and hasn’t narrowed the choices or selected any favorites. Here are some of the colleges that have offered Johnson a scholarship: Miami of Ohio, Ashland University, University of Cedarville, Youngstown, Kent State University, Shawnee State University and the University of Rio Grande.
Reach Chris Slone at 740-357-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone.