MANSFIELD — Talayzha Catchings joined an exclusive club Saturday afternoon and the monumental moment perfectly encapsulated her career at Mansfield Senior.
It was gritty and hard-nosed and came at a time when the Tygers needed it most.
Catchings scored her 1,000th career point and Mansfield Senior roared to a 67-47 win over Mount Vernon in Ohio Cardinal Conference action at Pete Henry Gym.
Catchings’ historic bucket came midway through the second quarter and with the Tygers (6-9, 4-4) clinging to a 21-19 lead. The undersized point guard drove from near the top of the key and converted a layup while being knocked to the floor by Mount Vernon’s Celina Fritsch. After a brief celebration, Catchings completed the conventional three-point play and Senior High began to pull away from the Yellow Jackets (2-12, 2-6).
“There are so many emotions going though my mind. I’m glad I accomplished it with my teammates and got to celebrate with the fans a little bit,” Catchings said. “I just wanted to let it come to me. I didn’t want to rush it. I’m the type of player that I let my game come to me.”
Catchings came into Saturday’s contest with 997 career points. She misfired on a 3-pointer early and scored points 998 and 999 on a nifty driving layup late in the first quarter that gave Senior High an 8-6 lead.
The Tygers held a 14-10 advantage after the first quarter. Catchings spent the early portion of the second setting up teammates like Ma’Kaya Marshall, who scored seven of her nine points in the period.
“It makes you proud to be a Tyger,” first-year coach J.R. Wilson said. “To see a girl like Talayzha, who puts in so much work and effort throughout the years … to see it pay off, it’s exciting.”
A four-year letter winner, Catchings came into her own as a sophomore. She averaged 16.4 points a game alongside former Senior High standout Erica Johnson, who is now starring as a redshirt freshman at Ohio University. Johnson concluded her star-crossed and injury-plagued career with 847 points.
“This was for Erica,” Catchings said. “She couldn’t be here tonight because she had a game. I told her I’d get it for her because she didn’t get it.”
Catchings’ boisterous cheering section included her father, who wore a shirt featuring his daughter’s portrait. Her mother held a custom-made sign that counted down the points she needed to the historic moment.
“I love my parents,” Catchings said. “My mom had that poster made for, like, two weeks now.”
Cathings finished with a team-team-high 17 points. JayJahnae Feagin added 16 while Na’Kyra Petty added 10.
Layne Lepley led the Yellow Jackets with 20 points.