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Lia nets 1,000th career point to lead Lafayette by New Kent

JAMES CITY - Lafayette sophomore Rachel Lia knew she needed to score 17 to reach 1,000 career points entering Thursday's home game against New Kent.

If Lia lost count along the way in the Ram's 57-27 win, it didn't take her long to realize she hit the magic number after swishing a long 2-pointer near the left corner of the court.

"I knew pretty quick when I heard the bench erupt in cheers," said Lia. "It was a good shot to be the thousandth point. I felt good about it."

"Money, baby," Lafayette coach Chris Brown interjected.

Lia's third-quarter "money" bucket put the Rams ahead 42-13, capping a 16-2 Lafayette run to start the second half.

Brown signaled for a timeout as soon as the ball splashed through the net, giving Lia a chance to celebrate with her teammates as many of the Lafayette fans who knew what had happened rose to their feet.

Lia, averaging around 18.5 points this season, scored 658 of those points as a Hampton Roads Academy eighth- and ninth-grader.

"For every serious basketball player, a thousand is a milestone that everyone wants to reach," said Lia. "Going into this game, I thought it might be a possibility. My teammates were really helping me out, helping me get to it."

A more proper celebration will ensue when Lia reaches 1,000 career Virginia High School League points. And likely more recognition awaits when she reaches 2,000 career points.

"The sky's the limit," said Lia. "But I'm just going to continue to play my game and wherever that gets me I'll be very appreciative."

Lafayette (13-5 overall) dominated Thursday's game from the start, scoring eight points off of turnovers to take an 18-5 lead after one quarter.

Lia finished with those 17 and Kenya Holiday also scored in double figures with 11.

Destiny Rivera came off the Rams' bench to score nine points on 3-for-6 shooting from 3-point range.

The win sets up a big game Tuesday at Warhill with each team battling for positioning in the 3A Conference 25 tourney.

If Lafayette tops Warhill and York next week to close the regular season, the Rams will clinch home court in the conference tourney.

Lafayette won the first meeting against Warhill, 55-46.

"Every game we go into, it's about us," said Brown. "We really don't focus on anybody else. We focus on going in and playing Lafayette basketball. It's being poised. It's making good decisions. It's rebounding and tough, gritty defense. And making it tough for people to score on us."

"We're very focused on finishing this part of our season strong and going into (conference) and region play even stronger," said Lia. "So it's imperative that we keep our focus strong for these next two games and go into postseason play with a lot of intensity."

New Kent: Slater 2, Jones 9, Major 7, Yates 8, Graham 1. Totals 12 2-8 27.
Lafayette: Wiltshire 7, Macomber 2, Lia 17, Holiday 11, Blake 2, Rivera 9, Hairston 3, Dwyer 2, Roberts 4. Totals 23 6-20 57.
New Kent 5 6 4 12 -- 27
Lafayette 18 8 21 10 -- 37

3-point goals: New Kent 1 (Major), Lafayette 5 (Wiltshire, Lia, Rivera 3).

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