TAMPA — Jefferson’s Laurie Beaty knew heading into Tuesday night’s nondistrict game against Tampa Bay Tech that she needed just 27 points to reach the 1,000 career mark.
She was determined to accomplish the feat against the Titans, and a buzz — along with several family members — filled Jefferson’s gym. And after she scored 14 in the first quarter, making a game between two of Tampa’s top programs a one-sided affair, it appeared all but inevitable.
She went into the game’s final seconds needing just two points, and Beaty shot a last-second 3-point prayer from near midcourt as the entire gym gasped — a shot that just hit off the rim and out.
“If I hit that,” Beaty said, shaking her head with a smile, “we were going to go to church or something.”
That didn’t take anything away from Beaty’s season-high 25-point performance in Jefferson’s 63-39 win. As she walked out of the locker room, she was mobbed by three screaming schoolmates, and a few steps later greeted by family with an ovation.
Beaty hit four 3-pointers, including three in a first quarter that saw the Dragons take a 23-10 lead. She scored from the perimeter, drove the baseline and charged through the lane with a purpose.
“I told her before the game that 27 is a lot of points,” Jefferson coach Tom Mosca said. “You worry about whether she might play with more emphasis on getting the points, but she was a great player tonight.”
Beaty’s milestone night will have to wait until Friday, when the Dragons host Hillsborough. But lost in the excitement was the fact that Jefferson (21-3) might be playing its best ball just in time — as districts approach next week.
The Dragons have won nine straight, allowing no more than 23 points in seven of the contests.
On Tuesday, Chantrell Frazier added 14 and Jade Givens and Shayla Wilson had seven each.
Dasia Daniels led TBT (19-3) with 12, and Dasha Christopher added 11.