ARLINGTON HEIGHTS — Coming out of tiny Lisbon Grade School as a much-heralded junior high basketball talent, the belief for most local hoop enthusiasts was that Meggie Scott would achieve big moments someday on the court as a key member of the Newark girls basketball team.
The junior guard did just that Thursday, adding to her decorated prep resume by first and leading Newark with 22 points, eight assists, seven steals and six rebounds as the No. 1-seeded Lady Norsemen dominated the fifth seed and host Christian Liberty Academy 66-31 in a Class 1A regional final.
Newark (22-6) won its 11th regional title in school history and its third in a row, while Scott established herself as only the eighth girls basketball player in program history to eclipse the 1,000-point mark.
She did it with a top-of-the-key 3-pointer at the 6:39 mark of the fourth quarter with her team's regional crown well in hand. Scott now has 1,002 career points with a promising postseason still in the wings — plus her senior year — to add to her total.
"Tonight it was very special for me and for all of us, first because we won another regional championship for our school, and because I was able to get to a thousand points with other girls like Jasmine (Mitchell), Lauren (McNanna) and Coach (Kelly) Friestad, who were all 1,000-point scorers at Newark and were here tonight to see me join them after our big win," Scott said. "That was pretty special for me that they made it to watch us play.
"My teammates were also so incredible tonight, and I could never have accomplished this without them."
Of those teammates, junior J.J. Mitchell stood right with Scott as dominant in the proceedings, as she produced 21 points, 19 in the first half, and seven assists.
Sophomore Brooke Kala added seven points, while senior Evie Martin chipped in with six points and six rebounds as the Lady Norsemen shot an impressive 29 of 60 (48 percent) from the field and forced 33 CLA turnovers.
The host Chargers (15-9) received a team-leading eight points from freshman Audrey Law while shooting a mere 11 of 50 (22 percent).
"I told the girls that the Newark team is a team we're striving to be like, and I have all the respect in the world for what they did against us tonight," said CLA coach Steve Rowland. "Especially No. 11 (Scott) and No. 14 (Mitchell), because they were all over the court tonight, and to see No. 11 score a thousand points just as a junior was truly amazing.
"Newark's a great team, and we're a very young ballclub with nine freshmen, so I think we learned a lot competing against them."
Mitchell was on fire in the first half, scoring 10 points in the first quarter as the Lady Norsemen bolted out to a 19-8 lead. She'd add nine more in the second quarter with Scott poured in 11 as the pair combined for 35 first-half points. Newark led 43-16 at halftime.
"Meggie and I were really seeing each other very well tonight, especially in the first half," Mitchell said. "Our defense was also a really big deal and forced them into a lot of turnovers (23) in the first half. From there, we wanted Meggie to get the points she needed in the second half to get to a thousand."
Mitchell's selflessness as well as that of the rest of the Newark crew made sure Scott would reach her milestone.
Scott cemented her name in the Newark record books with the early fourth-quarter triple that helped move her team into the Class 1A Ottawa Marquette Sectional semifinals at 6 p.m. Monday against Kewanee Wethersfield.
"We beat them (Wethersfield) last year in a thrilling game during the sectional semifinals at Hinckley-Big Rock," Newark coach Barb Scott said. "We'll have to do it again, and I know we can."