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A Milestone Night for Lebanon’s Wright, Who Scores 1,000th Point

  • After scoring her 1,000th point against Manchester West, Lebanon's Rebecca Wright gets a hug from her mother, Doris Villandry, in Lebanon, N.H., on Jan. 4, 2019. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Lebanon's Rebecca Wright looks for an outlet during the Raider's game with Manchester West in Lebanon, N.H., on Jan. 4, 2019. Wright scored her 1,000th point in the first half of the game. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Rachel Harrington, a sophomore at Lebanon High School, cheers while holding the face of player Rebecca Wright in Lebanon, N.H., on Jan. 4, 2019. Wright scored her 1,000th point during the first half of the game against Manchester West. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Lebanon's Maddy Finnell drives to the basket with Manchester West's Gloria Denis on her during their game in Lebanon, N.H., on Jan. 4, 2019. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Lebanon's Rebecca Wright gets hug from fifth-grade basketball player Avery Raymond at the end of Wright's game against Manchester West in Lebanon, N.H., on Jan. 4, 2019. Raymond was at the game with her teammates to cheer on Wright scoring her 1,000th point. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Staff Writer
Friday, January 04, 2019

Lebanon — Rebecca Wright wasted little time giving the hundreds in attendance at Lebanon High’s Lang Metcalf Gymnasium exactly what they wanted on Friday night.

Wright, the Weathersfield native and junior playmaker for the Raiders girls basketball team, scored her 1,000th career point at the 1:19 mark of the second quarter during a 47-21 win over Manchester West.

She scored the opening basket 7 seconds in and left the court with a game-high 18 points, putting the finishing touches on the millennium milestone for a program that’s meant so much to her.

“It was definitely nerve-wracking but also really exciting,” she said. “I’m happy that it’s over, in a good way. Between the team this year, last year and freshman year, everyone helped me to get where I am now. It’s just really exciting to have this experience. It’s insane.”

The night was a celebration of Wright from the opening jump.

Lebanon’s student section wore black, with some fans holding paper cutouts of Wright’s face. A whiteboard in a corner of the gym counted down her career total as the game went on; needing 15 to reach 1,000, she scored 13 in the first quarter.

Wright’s milestone shot wasn’t her cleanest — a jumper from the left corner that bounced high off the near rim and in.

But the pandemonium that it set off was the same. Her Lebanon teammates rushed the floor, brought out four balloons that spelled out 1-0-0-0 and posed at center court. After the game, Lebanon’s fifth- and sixth-grade girls basketball team — led by head coach Keith Estes — lined up to take photos with her.

“It’s a special feeling to be here, on the home court, to score 1,000, have everyone else come,” Wright said. “Between the students and the other fans, it’s a great feeling. I feel so accomplished for all the hard work I’ve done and all the teammates I’ve had that pushed me to get where I am.”

Wright became the 16th student-athlete, and sixth girl, to score 1,000 points for Lebanon and the first since K.J. Matte did it for Lebanon’s boys in 2016.

Lebanon girls basketball coach Tim Kehoe said he can’t remember another girl scoring 1,000 in her junior year. The honor, he said, was a long time coming.

“She’s a great player, she really is,” said Kehoe, who’s in his 29th year at the helm. “When she’s on, she’s really hard to stop. ... She’s been in a groove the last few weeks. She doesn’t force a lot of stuff, either. She just kind of lets it come to her.”

Wright joined the Raiders two years ago as a freshman, helping Lebanon win its second NHIAA Division II title in five seasons with a team-high 362 points and 14.5 points per game. She upped her game last winter, fighting off greater attention from opposing defenses to score 428 points and average 18.61 points per game in 23 contests, the second-most points scored by a girls in the Upper Valley. Lebanon fell to Hanover in the NHIAA Division II quarterfinals last year, but Wright’s hard work didn’t go unnoticed; she was named D-II’s player of the year by the New Hampshire Basketball Coaches Organization.

“Obviously, I still want to push myself and keep scoring,” Wright said. “Get a championship, try and get another player of the year, even just get on that (all-state) roster or whatever. But it’s definitely a nice first milestone to have.”

Lebanon led, 21-0, after the first quarter and 31-3 at halftime over the winless Blue Knights (0-6). The Raiders improved to 9-0 overall and 6-0 in D-II; Wright again leads the squad with 170 points, an average of 18.9 per game.

“I think she’s more comfortable to her game (this year),” Kehoe said. “She can create her shot anytime she wants, which is great. Her game has improved a lot, and it’s based on how hard she works. She is a full-time basketball player. She puts in a ton of time. She makes 3-point shots because she takes 500 every day in the offseason. ... She sticks to it and has a lot of skill, but she also works really, really hard.”

Wright’s focus, Kehoe said, has made Lebanon’s whole program better.

“She means a lot. She’s the type of kid you want in your program because I think kids gravitate toward her,” he said. “She’s the kind of kid that’s pretty humble. She was kind of uncomfortable about tonight, which is good. She’s a great kid. If she wasn’t a good basketball player, she’d still be a great, great kid.”

Wright admitted she’s had opportunities to play elsewhere; prep schools are an attractive draw for athletes with her skills. Kehoe said Wright’s commitment to her teammates speaks to her character.

“The one thing about Becky is she’s had a lot of chances to leave here,” Kehoe said. “She’s pretty loyal to the kids in this program; she’s loyal to her teammates and her friends. I think she enjoys the high school experience and her experience with her Lebanon teammates. These kids could be a little jealous of her, but they’re not because they know Becky is there for them.”

To Wright, Lebanon is home. The program continues to grow her skills, giving her opportunities to shine and goals to reach. Kehoe and Lebanon’s coaches know what to say and how to push to make her better. It’s all molded Wright into the player she is today.

Scoring 1,000 points was one way to give back.

“Mr. Kehoe is a great coach. I love him as a coach and a person,” Wright said. “He tells me how it should be. That’s what I appreciate about him. ...

“He knows how I play, and if I’m not playing like that, he pushes me. That’s what I need.”

Josh Weinreb can be reached at jweinreb@vnews.com or 603-727-3306.