LYNN– It seems as though no challenge is too much for St. Mary’s junior guard Pam Gonzalez.
Needing 17 points to join the 1,000-point club, on the road against one of the state’s top-ranked teams in Cathedral, Gonzalez did five better with a 22-point performance in a 63-58 loss to the Panthers on Monday night.
Gonzalez’s career milestone came on a lay-up in the third quarter, when the junior took the ball from the top of the key, drove to the paint and hit the basket while drawing a foul.
She admitted that she was nervous at the start but once the game settled in, things began to play in her favor.
“I was nervous at first,” Gonzalez said. “I was thinking about it but then I stopped and I just played my game. It was awesome. I’m happy I got it out of the way. Now we can focus on winning games and getting into the state tournament. We lost tonight but we played a good game.
“At first I didn’t know if I was going to get it done,” Gonzalez added. “I needed 17 points. When I got it, it felt great to get it done against Cathedral. They’re a really good team. They’ve always been a good team.”
Gonzalez becomes the sixth player in program history to reach the 1000-point plateau. She joins Robyn Mazin, Tori Faieta, Brianna Rudolph, Jennie Mucciarone and Olivia Nazaire.
“Pam’s definitely a prolific scorer,” St. Mary’s coach Jeff Newhall said. “With the schedule we play both in the CCL and out of the league, she’s become used to playing against great teams. That has helped her become a consistent scorer. She struggled the past two games but tonight she brought her A game.”
She’s the second Spartan to reach the milestone this season, as senior forward Nazaire (13 points, 15 rebounds Monday night) did so last month in a win over Cardinal Spellman. St. Mary’s also saw two of its players reach 1000-points in 2014, when Mucciarone and Rudolph each notched the mark.
“It says a lot about Pam and Olivia,” Newhall said. “They play basketball year-round. I’d say they play at least 300 days of the year. That’s what you need in order to play at a high level. Pam’s the sixth 1000-point scorer in our history. You have to be good, you have to be lucky and you have to be on a good team.
“Pam’s not just a scorer but she’s a great kid and a great student,” Newhall added. “She’s going to do very well in life and that’s more important than any basketball game or point she’ll score. Since I’ve been the coach at St. Mary’s, 100 percent of the graduates in our program have gone on to a four-year college. That’s the most important stat.”
Although the Spartans lost the game, Gonzalez was proud of the team’s effort. Facing Cathedral on the road is no easy task and the Spartans nearly brought home a win. A 7-2 Panthers run in the final 90 seconds sealed the win. St. Mary’s led 48-46 going into the fourth quarter.
“We came together tonight,” Gonzalez said. “We were missing a couple of girls who were sick. We played a great game and we really wanted to win. It’s hard to beat Cathedral but we played a great game.”
Gonzalez now shifts her focus to leading the Spartans to a postseason berth. St. Mary’s, 11-6 on the season, needs one win to clinch a spot in the state tournament.
“We’re just hoping to get some more wins,” Gonzalez said. “We’re hoping to improve. We showed a lot tonight. We played a great game against Cathedral. Now we’re just focusing on getting into the state tournament.”