For New Boston's Jessica Waugh, that reward came on Jan. 5. Against Western Pike, Waugh scored 22 points to become the school's all-time leading scorer, topping Amanda Williams' old mark of 1,378 for a career. Waugh has since surpassed the 1,400-point mark, currently standing at 1,437.
“It was a really special moment for me,” she said. “I was really anxious about approaching the mark, because I scored my 1,000th point last season, and I knew that I had another season to go. I entered this season with that goal in mind, and fortunately, I was able to break it.”
The new scoring mark is, at present, the culmination of Waugh's time at New Boston. A starter on varsity since her freshman season - the Lady Tigers didn't have a junior varsity team at the time - Waugh took on the role as one of the team's leading scorers from the get go. Piling up the points came natural to Waugh, who regularly put up 20- and 30-point efforts.
Still, becoming the school's all-time leading scorer was the furthest thing from her mind. In fact, Waugh was just wanting to get adjusted to the flow of the high school game.
“In the beginning, I felt that if it came, it came,” she said. “I was just trying to do my best to keep the team in the game when I was a freshman. We didn't really know what to expect, because it was a lot different than when I played in junior high. I came to expect, though, that scoring was going to be one of the biggest roles on the team. I knew that it was going to be an area where I could contribute to the team, and I did my best to grow into the role.”
That growth continued through her sophomore and junior seasons, as Waugh was often the team's high scorer. What didn't come as quickly were wins. Being a young team, often stocked with freshmen and sophomores, they were few and far between for the Lady Tigers.
Now that Waugh is a senior, that has changed. New Boston is 7-6 this season, 6-5 in the SOC I. With a core of talented seniors such as Brittany Bloomfield and Kara McCreary, as well as freshman Kayla Wiley taking on scoring duties of their own, much of the attention has been taken off Waugh.
Thus, Waugh has taken on other roles - such as being the leader on the court.
“Jessica understands the game, and her knowledge of the game helps her excel,” said New Boston coach Rachel Coriell. “Anytime you have experience on the team, especially from her, it is a big attribute to the team. It would be harder to be at this point in the season if we did have a player of her caliber. She is a big leader on the team, and the kids look to her to provide the scoring when we need it.”
The fact that Waugh works just as hard in the offseason as she does during the season helps, according to Coriell. “Dedicated” and “coachable” are just a few of the words that Coriell has used to describe her senior guard.
“That's very hard to find in other sports with kids you coach, sometimes,” said Coriell. “Getting the scoring mark is a great honor, and something that very few people have the chance to strive for. She has set the bar very high for anyone else to try and break the standard she has set.”
While she is happy with the scoring record, Waugh still has one thing to accomplish during her high school career - a winning season. That goal is within reach, and should the Lady Tigers follow through, achieving it would make her mark all the sweeter.
“It makes me happy that after all we went through, I was able to reach that mark,” said Waugh. “It's like receiving an award after suffering through some tough seasons. Breaking the record was a special moment for me, but to finish with a winning record would be a great way to finish my time at New Boston.”
JOSH HICKLE can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 241.