Cailey Barnett

Cailey Barnett and her parents, Darren and Julie, after Cailey made her 1,000-point.

The play unfolded as so many others have this season, an outlet pass leading to an easy basket for the Port Allegany girls basketball team.

This one came with added significance, though. By finishing off the fast break early in the second quarter of Port’s 56-24 North Tier League win over Austin last Monday night, Cailey Barnett became the eighth Gator girl to join the school’s exclusive 1,000-point club.

“It’s a lot of relief. I really wanted to hit it early in my senior year, so that all the other games, it wasn’t working toward my thousand, it was just playing,” the senior guard said. “Because I want to play for everyone. With my thousand, it was kind of lingering that I had to score every game. Now it’s more of, I can assist, I can play defense, I don’t have to worry about scoring as much. Just a lot less pressure, I guess.”

The play started at the far end of the court, with junior point guard Bree Garzel corralling a rebound and launching a long pass that Barnett caught up to with a clear path to the basket.

“I cherry-pick a lot, especially on defense, because my girl tends to go back and I know I can beat her in a footrace. So Bree knows that I’m back there, and she lobs it and expects me to go get it. That’s what we do day-in and day-out,” Barnett said of Garzel, who ranks among the state leaders in assists.

After that, it was just a matter of making the shot … which might have been harder than it seemed, for an unexpected reason.

“It was just a relief, because I was having trouble shooting. Forgot my contacts, I couldn’t really see, trying to play with my glasses. It was a rough night from the beginning,” she said with a smile.

The buzzer sounded as soon as the ball dropped through the net, setting off a short celebration with her teammates and parents.

“It was nice to have everybody around. A lot of the community came out to support us,” Barnett said.

Then, already focused on her next goal, she concluded, “Let’s just hope we win the NTL now.”

Garzel led a balanced scoring effort against the Panthers with 13 points, adding three steals, while Barnett finished with 12 points, 9 steals and 6 rebounds. Shannon Curfman had seven points and seven rebounds, with fellow junior Jade Evens scoring eight points and pulling down five rebounds. Taylor Brewer led Austin with eight points.

“It’s good for the program. It was nice to have a big crowd here and have the younger girls here playing at halftime, getting to experience it. Hopefully one of them will be the next one,” Port coach Jamie Evens said of Barnett’s milestone.

Echoing his star senior, he added, “Now we can focus on team goals. It’s all about building for the end of the year.”

The Gators (7-1, 4-0 league) took a big step toward one of those goals on Wednesday, traveling to Duke Center to eke out a big 55-50 road win against fellow NTL contender Otto-Eldred despite the Terrors draining seven 3-pointers, then finished out the week by overwhelming an outmatched Smethport team, 56-10, on Friday.

Barnett poured in 26 points in her final visit to the Terrordome, adding six steals and five rebounds, with Port also getting 11 points, six steals and five assists from Garzel. Evens and Curfman each grabbed six rebounds, as did junior guard Gracie Archer, who also scored 10 points.

Against the Hubbers, Garzel stuffed the stat sheet with a game-high 18 points and seven rebounds, six steals, and four assists, with running mate Barnett contributing 17 points, six rebounds, four steals, and three assists and freshman Evin Stauffer adding nine points.

At Port Allegany, Dec. 16:

Austin (24)

Brewer 4 0-1 8, Welsh 3 0-2 6, Valenti 2 0-3 4, Setzer 2 2-4 6, Nichols 0 0-1 0. Totals: 11 2-11 24.

Port Allegany (56)

Archer 2 0-0 4, Garzel 3 5-6 13, Daniels 3 0-0 6, Barnett 6 0-0 12, Curfman 3 1-2 7, Stauffer 1 0-0 2, Crowe 0 0-2 0, Smith 1 0-2 2, Budd 1 0-0 2, Evens 4 0-0 8. Totals: 24 6-12 56.

Austin 6 9 15 24

Port 15 38 49 56

3s: Austin 0, Port 1 (Garzel). Fouls: Austin 10, Port 14. Fouled out: none.

At Duke Center, Dec. 18:

Port Allegany (55)

Archer 4 0-0 10, Garzel 3 4-6 11, Daniels 0 0-0 0, Barnett 11 2-4 26, Curfman 1 2-2 4, Stauffer 1 0-0 2, Crowe 0 0-0 0, Smith 0 0-0 0, Evens 1 0-0 2. Totals: 21 8-12 55.

Otto-Eldred (50)

K. Sheeler 3 5-8 12, Cousins 3 0-0 9, E. Sheeler 1 1-3 4, Raught 1 0-0 2, Spinney 0 0-0 0, Dalton 2 1-2 7, K. Heller 3 0-5 6, B. Heller 4 2-8 10. Totals: 17 9-25 50.

Port Allegany 16 29 47 55

Otto-Eldred 13 25 39 50

3s: Port 5 (Archer 2, Barnett 2, Garzel), O-E 7 (Cousins 3, Dalton 2, K. Sheeler, E. Sheeler). Fouls: Port 22, O-E 15. Fouled out: Daniels (PA), K. Sheeler, K. Heller (O-E).

At Port Allegany, Dec. 20:

Smethport (10)

Lutz 1 1-2 4, Tanner 2 0-3 4, Deyarmin 0 2-4 2, Herzog 0 0-2 0. Totals: 3 3-11 10.

Port Allegany (56)

Archer 1 0-0 2, Garzel 5 7-10 18, Daniels 1 0-0 2, Barnett 6 2-4 17, Curfman 0 0-0 0, Stauffer 4 0-0 9, Evens 2 0-0 4, Budd 2 0-0 4, Causer 0 0-2 0. Totals: 21 9-16 56.

Smethport 4 6 10 10

Port Allegany 25 33 48 56

3s: Smethport 1 (Lutz), Port 5 (Barnett 3, Garzel, Stauffer). Fouls: Smethport 10, Port 9. Fouled out: none.

PAHS 1,000-POINT SCORERS:

Girls:

1993: Charity O'Connor

1997: Kelly Flint

1998: Kristin Caskey

1999: Kylie Johnson

2002: Erica Lapp (1,042)

2014: Rebecca Lathrop (1,175)

2017: Autumn Buchsenschutz (1,115)

2019: Cailey Barnett (1,048 as of 12/20/19)

Boys:

1972: Jeff Dann (1,006)

1990: Jim Stayer

1996: John Griggs

1999: Brian Stavisky (1,948)

2002: Anthony Flint

2004: Claude Haskins (1,021)

2005: Craig Flint (1,515)

2006: Willie Bova (1,135)

2016: Jordan Seefeldt (1,119)

2019: Howie Stuckey (1,297 as of 12/20/19)

(This is the most complete list we have. Please email portsports@verizon.net with any additions/corrections.)