OAKLAND — Keith Derosby, Messalonskee High School’s girls basketball coach, watched Lawrence, his team’s opponent, go through pregame warmups.

“It’s 19, but she doesn’t know.” Derosby said.

Messalonskee senior Gabrielle Wener was 19 points from the most sacred of personal high school basketball milestones, 1,000 career points. Coaches from Monmouth University, Wener’s college team next season, were in the stands to watch their recruit. It was Youth Night, the annual event where Messalonskee players sign autographs for youth league players who aspire to play for the Eagles someday.

Bigger than any personal accomplishment is the magnitude of the game. Lawrence entered the game in third place in the Class A North Heal point standings, a shed over two points ahead of Messalonskee. Lawrence won the first game between these teams by 10, 46-36. Playoff seedings are to be had. With Monday’s 48-44 win, Lawrence put a little more distance between itself and the Eagles.

Even so, we count down, even if Wener doesn’t know how close she is to history.

Nineteen, now 17, with a baby hook shot to tie the game at 2-2.


Now 15, with a turnaround jumper in the paint to give the Eagles a 6-5 lead.

Now 13, with a runner in the paint off a nifty pass from Mackenzie Mayo.

Lawrence doesn’t make it easy. There is always a Bulldog standing between Wener and the basketball, especially when Wener is in the paint. When she does get the ball, two or three Bulldogs descend on Wener, giving her no lane to the rim or space to shoot until she gives the ball up.

Now 11, with a layup in stride cutting to the basket.

Now nine, this time another hook shot from the middle of the lane. This one gives the Eagles a 26-22 lead midway through the third quarter.

Now seven, with a putback of her own miss, tying the game at 34-34 early in the fourth quarter.


Now five, as Wener makes a pair of free throws with 5:47 to play to tie the game at 36-36.

None of Wener’s shots feel forced, like she can feel the pressure of 1,000 points over her shoulder and wants to shake it off. On the contrary, every shot Wener takes comes in the flow of the game. Earlier, a few 3-pointers she tried hit the inside of the iron and ricochet out of the net. Those are shots Wener has made, and she’ll make again. Just not tonight.

Now four, as Wener makes the front end of a one-and-one opportunity with 2:59 to play.

Now two, on a bucket with 46 seconds to play, cutting Lawrence’s lead to 45-41.

And that’s where the countdown ends, at least tonight. Wener has one more chance, driving to the basket in the closing seconds, but the shot doesn’t fall, and the Bulldogs escape with the important win. Wener will get her 1,000th point with her first basket when Messalonskee plays at Mt. Blue Wednesday night. Barring a fluke, it’s inevitable. The wait shouldn’t be anxious. It should be hopeful, like killing time until a visit from a long-awaited friend.

After the game, Wener signed autographs for the youth league players lined up to meet her. Pen in her hand, milestones didn’t matter.

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