SKOWHEGAN — Jaycie Christopher knew she was close to 1,000 career points. She didn’t know how close.

“I didn’t want to know,” Christopher said after the Skowhegan girls basketball team put a wrap on its regular season with a 56-40 win over rival Messalonskee on Tuesday night. “First (head coach Mike LeBlanc) told me I needed 30 points, then he told me it was 20 points. I think he was having a hard time keeping it in.”

It didn’t matter.

Christopher scored a game-high 32 points to make history, including 15 in a crucial third-quarter in which the RiverHawks broke open what had been a close game at halftime.

The junior needed only six points to reach the 1,000-point plateau, which she collected by finishing off an old-fashioned three-point play from the foul line with 4:44 remaining in the first quarter to become only the sixth player in Skowhegan basketball history to reach the milestone. She is the third girl to make it to 1,000 points and the first since Annie Cooke did so in 2019. Christopher is the first underclassmen to reach 1,000 points.

“For me, this was something that I was never really focused on,” Christopher said. “For me, the big thing has been to win a state championship, and if this happens along the way, good. But it takes a team.”

The game was stopped briefly to honor Christopher’s accomplishment. Christopher was met on the court by LeBlanc for a photo to commemorate the moment.

The game resumed, and the game ball was rotated out at the end of the first quarter to later be presented to Christopher.

“She has been just about everything for us, on and off the court. It’s her leadership and her work ethic shines off on other kids,” LeBlanc said. “She’s just a joy to have around.”

The game was tied 13-13 after one quarter and Skowhegan (11-1) led Messalonskee by only seven at the break.

Skowhegan’s Reese Danforth, middle, passes the ball between Messalonskee defenders Brooke Martin (33) and Gabriella Smart during a game Tuesday in Skowhegan. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

In the third quarter, though, the RiverHawks switched to a full-court press and their transition game — even after Eagle buckets at the other end of the floor — was simply too much for the visitors to match up with.

“That’s what they did against us the other day, too,” said Messalonskee coach Keith DeRosby. “In the third quarter, they got up some layups in transition, and once they started to build that cushion slowly, then it just amounts over time.”

Christopher scored the first 12 points of the third quarter for Skowhegan, hitting a 3-pointer in the first minute and then dumping in four layups off of RiverHawk steals out of the press.

“We’re pretty long and athletic. When we’re struggling, it’s good to get into that (press) and get a couple quick baskets and see what we can do from there,” Christopher said of the third quarter performance. “We always come into games saying if we can get in transition, that’s what we want to do. Messalonskee did a really good job of guarding us in transition, especially in the first half, and that’s why we struggled to score there.

“It all starts on the defensive end.”

Sophomore Callaway LePage finished with 13 points and five rebounds for Skowhegan.

For Messalonskee (2-7), senior Ella Smith led the way with a team-high 15 points, including 11 after halftime. Brooke Martin and Ashley Mullen each chipped in with six apiece.

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