STERLING — Senior Emma Nunley walked to the scorer’s table, hugged her coach and accepted a professionally stitched basketball with some important words on it.
The message on the ball read, “Emma Nunley, 1,000 points, 2023.” It was simple and plain, but everyone in the Sterling gym knew what it meant.
Nunley, a leader for the Lady Tigers, was honored Dec. 16 for scoring 1,000 points in her high school basketball career.
The celebration was short and sweet as Nunley returned to the court and proceeded to score 19 points to lead all scorers in the game against Apache.
Nunley actually tallied her 1,000th point sometime during the Geronimo tournament, but head coach Jennifer Garner and Nunley weren’t sure when it occurred.
Over the past four years, Nunley has persevered to become one of the most prolific scorers in school history. With 12 games plus playoffs left on the schedule, Nunley is projected to end her career with significantly more than 1,000 points.
“This was really awesome,” she said. “I’m happy I got to do that (score 1,000). Honestly, I’ve had it in my mind since I was a freshman. It’s a goal I’ve had for a long time.”
Nunley has been a Sterling starter since she was a freshman and has been working toward the 1,000-point goal for the last four years. She reached the 500-point mark as a sophomore.
She said she has been talking to some junior colleges and Division II schools about playing collegiate basketball, but she’s not letting the proverbial cat out of the bag just yet.
Meanwhile, Garner was happy to see Nunley accomplish her 1,000-point goal.
“Anytime you coach a kid and see that, it’s great,” she said. “She’s a humble kid who focuses more on winning than she does scoring.”
This is Garner’s first year coaching Nunley. Nunley is averaging 23 points a game this season.