For Libby Evanshine, 22 was bigger than 1,414.
She’s a darn good student, so math problems are not an issue.
But, simply put, she was happier East Clinton won its 22nd game of the season Tuesday night to advance in the tournament as well as establish a new school record than she was becoming the school’s all-time leading scorer.
“You know what,” East Clinton girls basketball coach Bill Bean began, “Libby was more happy when I told the girls (after the game in the locker room) you’ve met one of your two goals (with 22 wins) than she was the 14-hundred and whatever points she’s scored. She wanted what was best, not for herself as an individual, but what was best for the team.”
East Clinton defeated Cincinnati Taft 84-12 Tuesday at Wilmington’s Fred Summers Court in a Division III sectional contest. The Astros, who made the regional tournament last season, will face Norwood 1 p.m. Saturday at Summers Court for the sectional championship.
Robbin Luck established the girls all-time scoring record at East Clinton in 1983. The Clinton County Sports Hall of Famer was in attendance at Tuesday’s game, and quite possibly the most vocal EC fan in the stands.
“I couldn’t be happier to have Libby Evanshine break my record,” said Luck, who was the principal for Evanshine when her current senior classmates were in sixth, seventh and eighth grades. “I saw them win back to back championships when they were in seventh and eighth grade. Her dad (Chris) was one of my former students when I was at Whiteoak. He was a good athlete. So was her mom (Jaime McDowell Evanshine). I know her grandfather Jim McDowell. Just great people.”
Luck knew Libby had talent, but, more importantly, also knew she had the intangible things needed to be a big success.
“She always worked hard,” Luck said. “I knew she would continue to grow her game. She’s team first. She just wants to win. That’s all I wanted to do, too, was win.”
Libby knew of Luck as a player before ever scoring a varsity point.
“I’ve heard a lot about Miss Luck and how great of a player she was,” Libby said. “This is special. I feel very honored and supported in every way. (The record) has been in my head … ‘Is this something I could do?’ Once I got to high school, I was like I want this.”
With Luck’s mark of 1,413 now in the rearview mirror, Evanshine can focus on getting back to the Springfield District and another shot at a berth in the regional and state tournaments.
People, though, remind her the overall East Clinton basketball scoring record looms not far down the road. Wyatt Floyd scored 1,453 career points. Libby’s focus will not be swayed even though her 1,419 is within striking distance.
“I’m not really worried about that record right now,” said Evanshine. “We have a bigger goal as a team to make it to state this year. The record would be special but I want to get to state with my team.”
In a roundabout way, reaching the pinnacle of high school team sports would be one way Libby could thank those near to her.
“I appreciate my teammates,” she said. “I couldn’t do this without them.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email [email protected] or on Twitter @wnjsports