In his 23rd season as head girls basketball coach, where he has seen 492 victories at Catonsville High, Mike Mohler is prepared for anything when he approaches a game.
But, nothing could have prepared him for what happened on the last day of January, when senior Jameila Barrett scored a career-high 39 points in the Comets’ 75-26 victory over Randallstown.
Barrett’s three-pointer in the final seconds gave her exactly 1,000 career points.
“Going into the game, we knew she needed 39,” Mohler said. “I thought it would be nice to get it at home, but I didn’t think it was going to happen.”
The coach figured it would happen on Friday, Feb. 2, at Chesapeake, or Wednesday, Feb. 7, at Perry Hall, and they would celebrate the milestone at home on Feb. 9, against Franklin, on senior night.
That scenario changed dramatically after the first half.
“She had like 24 in the first half and I said, ‘She might get this,’ ” Mohler recalled. “As we kept going I said, ‘Let’s just let her go, let’s try and do it at home,’ and she did it with a three-point shot with like five seconds left in the game.”
Barrett, who has committed to play college basketball at Division I Norfolk State, was hesitant to take the shot.
“I’m not sure she knew what was going on, but everybody was telling her to shoot it,” Mohler said.
Meanwhile, Mohler was scrambling to get a basketball and microphone to commemorate the momentous event.“
“We did it on the fly,” he said.
The Comets lead was over 35 points, so they were playing with a running clock and Mohler wanted to get a timeout if she reached 1,000 to stop the game, but he didn’t get it and that set up a storybook ending.
“She hits it and it becomes like this last-second shot and all the kids went out and jumped on her and tackled her and stuff like that,” Mohler said. “We announced it and it was great and we gave her a ball.”
Barrett’s points per game average jumped from 16.4 to 16.8, but since the 39 points was such a surprise, she didn’t have some of her biggest fans in the stands.
“I was just real happy for her and happy that it was home, but it was sad because if we had counted on it, her family comes to all the games, and only her mom was there,” Mohler said. “This was night to do it, but that’s alright, it’s behind us now.”
What made the moment even more special for the coach, who led the Comets to their first state girls basketball title in 2017, was that Barrett was the second Comet player to reach the milestone in the past two seasons.
In December of 2016, senior Jasmine Dickey went over 1,000 points.
Dickey, who has committed to the University of Delaware and averages 18.9 points a game this season, eclipsed 1,500 points in the Comets’ 49-46 state championship win over Walt Whitman.
“I don’t know how many teams have ever had two girls who have played together for four years and scored 1,000 points,” Mohler said. “I think it’s rare. Two kids on the same team, that is phenomenal.”
The dynamic duo also did it without playing full games in most of the contests against Baltimore County schools.
Catonsville (13-3) is 10-0 in games against Baltimore County teams and its average margin of victory is 48 points.
“I normally wouldn’t have kept her in the game, but this doesn’t happen often,” Mohler said. “When she got close, we all wanted her to do it at home.”