by Aaron Garcia
On Jan. 6, Ardrey Kell senior forward Christelle Shembo scored her 1,000th career point in a 58-29 home win over East Mecklenburg. Shembo, who leads the team at 16.3 points per game, needed 22 points to break the mark. She reached the milestone halfway through the fourth quarter.
“I felt like the happiest person in the gym,” said Shembo, who was joined at center court by Ardrey Kell coach Tina Lawrence; her brother, Prince; and her father, Maurice. During a break, she was awarded a ceremonial game ball marking the occasion.
Shembo, a Wake Forest recruit, is the second Knight this season to reach 1,000 points, joining guard Oceania Anderson, who achieved the milestone in December. Lawrence said the team learned some valuable lessons by watching Anderson work toward the goal.
“We didn’t talk about (Shembo’s 1,000 points) at practice, we didn’t address it,” Lawrence said. “(We just said) when it happens, it happens. When (Anderson) knew hers was coming, we kind of struggled for a couple of games trying to make it happen for her. (Christelle and I) made the decision to not have that conversation.”
But that didn’t mean Shembo was unaware of the impending occasion. After a 28-point outburst in the season’s second game against Weddington, Shembo said the possibility hit her. A few weeks later, she sat down with her father and did the math.
“Going into Christmas break, that’s when I figured out I needed to get so-and-so points,” she said. “My dad and I sat down and we started counting the games. We just timed it perfectly. I told him I was going to get it by the East Mecklenburg game because it was our last home game before three road games.”
Which left her just 22 points shy entering the game against the Eagles. Sitting at 12 points at halftime, while facing a stifling trap defense, Shembo was held scoreless for the first few minutes of the second half before exploding. She hit two free throws and a layup before converting a four-point play, which left her just two points short headed into a timeout.
“After the timeout, everyone was just looking at me smiling, just saying I had two points left,” Shembo said. “I knew I had two points left. I looked at my brother, and he was like, ‘Two points.’”
Shembo then stole the Eagles’ outlet pass.
“I could hear my teammates whispering, ‘Don’t pass the ball,’” recalled Shembo. “In my head, I was thinking, ‘I’m not going to pass this thing.’”
Instead, Shembo drove the lane and banked in a layup for her 1,000th point.
Considering Shembo averages 2.1 steals and 9.3 rebounds per game, her last 10 points, which included a steal and two rebounds, couldn’t have come in a more fitting fashion.
“That game, that moment just went my way,” she said. “It wasn’t like I was forcing it; it just happened smoothly. I missed my free throw, but I got the putback. I wasn’t thinking about it; I just let it happen. It built up and built up, and I finally got it.”
Now, said Shembo, it’s time to focus on bigger goals.
“It’s an accomplishment, it’s a memory,” she said. “But the season’s not over yet, so I’ve got to keep it moving. I’ve got my 1,000 points, but I’ve still got other things I want to accomplish.”