By Tommy Keeler Jr.
WOODSTOCK -- Katelyn Poston has always been competitive.
The Central junior has been known for her competitive nature, fire and intensity on the court.
This season that competitive drive even took her to new heights -- literally.
During practice while preparing for Bull Run District power George Mason, Central girls basketball coach Mallory Skarupa told the team they were going to play a box-and-one on Mustangs center Stephanie Cheney. The Penn-bound Cheney is 6-foot-1, but that didn't stop the 5-foot-5 Poston from asking her coach if she could be the one to guard her in the box-and-one.
"If I'm playing one of the best people I want to be the one who is guarding her, because that's where most of their points come from," Poston said. "And I felt like I had the best opportunity there to make myself better and to help out my team in the best way possible."
The Falcons weren't able to stay in the box-and-one for very long, due to how strong other players on the team were. However, Skarupa said Poston, The Northern Virginia Daily's 2012-13 Co-Girls Basketball Player of the Year, did a very good job during the time she guarded her. Skarupa said it also showed strong leadership from Poston.
"It's great to have one of your leaders step up and ask for challenges like that," Skarupa said. "I think it gives the other members of the team more confidence to be able to do the same thing and sets a great example."
To make matters tougher for Poston, she and teammate Sydney Plum were in a fender-bender before the game and barely made it to the gymnasium on time. Poston said she was definitely a little shaken up and distracted by the accident, which helped lead to a career-low two points in the Jan. 22 loss to the Mustangs.
However, Poston said the game served as a motivator for the rest of the season.
"My whole season picked up after George Mason," Poston said. "I think that was just kind of an eye opener that I needed to pick it up and focus more on basketball, and be like more of an all-around player."
In the next game against Manassas Park, Poston responded with one of her best games of the season. She had 29 points, 12 rebounds, three steals and four assists in the 58-45 victory.
"She was all over the place at Manassas Park," Skarupa said. "And her intensity was contagious -- especially in the first half. Her energy wore off on everyone and it was like we just went into overdrive or something -- you could feel it. It was one of those moments that you live for as a coach and a player."
Poston also had a milestone on her mind as she played against Manassas Park -- she was closing in on 1,000 points. Poston said she thought she only needed 29 points to reach, and had done so, but Skarupa told her with 30 seconds left in the game that she was at 999.
Poston wasn't able to score her 1,000th point in that game, but three days later on the road at Madison County she did. Early in the game, Poston drilled a 3-pointer on her first shot attempt and became only the sixth player in Central girls basketball history to reach 1,000 career points.
"It was awesome," Poston said. "That's obviously something I wanted to do since I came in to basketball. It's something I couldn't have done without my teammates and my family and my coaches."
Poston finished the season at 1,100 points, and is now third all-time on Central's scoring list. She needs only 91 points next season to break the record held by Sarah DiNardo, who is Central's assistant coach.
"I think it means even more that with coach DiNardo being my assistant coach, that when I break that, that's whose record I'm breaking," Poston said. "I think that just means a lot. I'm just honored. I'm honored that I'm part of the 1,000-point club, but I'm going to be even more honored when I get to be the all-time leading scorer for Central."
Poston was the top scorer in the area, averaging 19.8 points per game.
Skarupa said while Poston may be known for her scoring, she now considers her more of a play-maker than a scorer.
Part of that is Poston's strong passing ability. She had several no-look passes this season, and said for next year she wants to have at least one behind-the-back pass.
There's no question that her biggest improvement this season was rebounding. Poston said her main goal was to become a better rebounder, and she was very pleased with how she did.
"I've never been a rebounder," Poston said. "I've always been the kind of person who cherry picks and gets back. This year I was so proud of myself for stepping up and being able to rebound. I had a couple double-doubles from rebounding and that's the first time I've ever had that in my career. It feels so great."
The season didn't go as well as Poston and the Falcons would have liked. Central finished 13-8, and didn't make the regional tournament.
Central had only eight players, and only three players returned from last year's squad.
"I think as a team this was our first time really playing together," Poston said. "I thought we came together pretty well."
Poston said her competitive drive has always been there. She said if she lost to her siblings or her father in backyard basketball games, she would have to keep playing until she won.
That's why it's not surprising she rebounded so well from the George Mason game, or why she's more motivated than ever for her senior season.
"Next year's my senior year and I definitely want it to be my best year out of all four," Poston said. "This year wasn't a bad year, but I definitely want us to go further as a team."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org