Kylee Elmore had a clue she was close to a career milestone when many of her family members traveled to Newburg to watch her play.
She had no idea how close.
Elmore hit a 12-foot jumper less than five seconds into the game last Monday for her 999th and 1,000th career points. But the game continued with no mention of the mark. In fact, Elmore, who scored 16 points in the Lady Tigers’ 58-50 victory, still didn’t know she had reached the significant number until she was met by her cheering teammates and family as she exited the locker room.
“I knew I’d probably get it that game because my family from everywhere was there,” Elmore said. “But I had no idea how many I needed.”
That was by design.
Elmore’s parents, Bob and Deena, knew their daughter entered her season with 921 points. But they didn’t tell her. She quickly moved toward four figures as she scored 20, 26 and 31 points in three games of the Lady Bulldog Invitational to open the season.
“They just told me I was close,” Kylee said. “I didn’t know what ‘close’ meant. They probably didn’t tell me so I wouldn’t put anymore pressure on myself.”
Elmore is believed to be just the third player in HHS coach Brent Kell’s 29-year tenure to reach the 1,000-point barrier. She joins Patti (Wright) Roberts, who scored 1,953 points from 1987-’91 to establish the all-time scoring mark for both the Houston boys’ and girls’ programs, and Loran (Ichord) Richardson.
Elmore’s official recognition for her milestone came Friday night. After the Lady Tigers’ 40-31 victory against Norwood, Elmore was presented a plaque commemorating her achievement and the ball from the Newburg game signed by her teammates.
“Kylee just loves to be in the gym,” Kell said. “She loves to practice. I think that’s a good indicator. Patti was the same way. She loved to practice.”
Elmore has been a steady scorer since she joined the varsity team as a freshman. After cracking the starting lineup shortly after Christmas, she led the Lady Tigers in scoring with 11.9 points per game. Her sophomore campaign was even better at 14.8 points per game as the third-leading scorer in the conference.
Last season was more challenging.
Elmore tore her ACL in the opening round of districts the previous year and although she worked hard to make her way back onto the court, she averaged a career-low 10.4 points per game while playing with a bulky knee brace.
Elmore ditched the brace for her final season and says she feels more like her old self on the court. Driving more frequently to the basket, she is averaging 20.4 points per game through the early part of the season.
Elmore said her career path makes reaching 1,000 points even more special.
“It made coming back mean more –– like I had accomplished something bigger,” she said. “It shapes who you are.”
Elmore had a season-low nine points in Friday’s victory against Norwood. But she had no concerns. The Lady Tigers rallied from an early deficit and with the help of teammate Sarah Kelley’s 14 points, Houston pulled away for a nine-point victory to improve to 4-1.
“I know my scoring helps the team, and I’m better at it this year because I can drive again,” Elmore said. “But I just want to win. Whatever is best for the team. If I score zero and we win, that’s great. If I score 20 and we win, that’s great, too.”
I know my scoring helps the team, and I’m better at it this year because I can drive again. But I just want to win. Whatever is best for the team. If I score zero and we win, that’s great. If I score 20 and we win, that’s great, too.”