Graphic by Skip Smith
Graphic by Skip Smith

In high school basketball, scoring 1,000 points in your 4-year career is a major accomplishment. It takes a player willing to put in lots of hard work and dedication to the game in order to even have a shot at it. It also usually requires that player being a 4-year starter on the team in order to have the opportunities needed to get to that coveted number.

The Lady Cruiser basketball team just so happens to have two such players on their team this season that have all those things going for them.

Sophomores Hailey Rath and Kya Stewart are those two players. Both have made it to the halfway point to that magic 1,000 points scored number and they both did it in the same week. Rath did it on Tuesday last week against Washington and Stewart on Thursday against Renton.

Rath plays the guard position on the team and is a great outside shooter and loves to drive to the basket as well. Those great qualities helped her score 500th point this past week in a game against Washington. It wasn’t easy for her though.

Going into the game Rath needed only 2 points to reach the milestone. “I didn’t know how close I was until I saw the post from Eatonville Sports News on Facebook the night of the Port Angeles game saying I only needed 2 more points. I remember thinking, oh my wow!” Rath explained.  After draining a free throw to get her to 499 points early in the 1st quarter, she would go down with an injury after colliding with teammate Madison Dunbar and was sidelined for a large portion of the first half. She would return but would be held scoreless until the 4th quarter.

On Washington’s first possession of the 4th quarter, she would steal a Patriot pass and race down court and laid up her 500th and 501st points of her young career.

When asked about her success the past couple of seasons, Rath expressed gratitude to her parents, coaches, and teammates, “My success these past two seasons comes from a lot of different things I feel.  All the years I’ve spent playing sports helped and just always being super competitive. I’ve been a lucky kid having such wonderful coaches and teammates in all my sports through the years. I also think getting out of Eatonville at an early age to play competitive basketball and fastpitch has helped me a lot. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for allowing Kaitlyn and I to do that! It has made me a stronger player”.

Stewart plays the forward position for the Cruisers and loves to do most of her scoring in the paint. She also has a great mid-range jump shot to compliment her work down low. These skills helped her score her 500th point this past Thursday in the Cruisers final game of the season against Renton.

Going into the game Stewart needed 8 points to hit 500 points scored. “Hailey let me know before the game that I was 8 points away from 500”, commented Stewart. Mid way through the second quarter she would pick up points 499 and 500 off an inbounds play. With Rath inbounding the ball from the baseline, Stewart would get position on the defender and box her out and receive the inbounds pass from Rath and lay it up and in.

She would pick up 4 of those points in the 1st quarter. After picking up her 6th point of the game, she would hit the 500-point scored mark

When asked what it took to reach this milestone, Stewart said “A lot of hard work and my amazing coaches. Coach Swartout always pushed me to work my hardest and Coach Boyden came and really pounded this mindset that I am unstoppable in my head”.

When asked about this dynamic duo, Coach Erik Swartout emphasized “It is pretty impressive to have two sophomores reach the 500-point total. They are both special players and work well off each other. I'm excited to see them grow this offseason and put in the work to take their game to a different level”.

Rath would finish the season with 525 points scored in her career while Stewart compiled 512 points scored.

With a lot of hard work, these two could see themselves joining former players Liz Clark, Becca Schrimpsher, and Sammie Swartout in the coveted 1,000 points club at Eatonville.