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For the love of the game

February 12, 2021 - 00:00
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LOA’s Destiny McClendon scores 2,000 points

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    While being given a standing ovation, Destiny McClendon smiles at the crowd during a stoppage of play to honor her milestone. LANCE MCCURLEY/Staff
  • Article Image Alt Text
    McClendon and her father hug it out at half-court while being cheered on by the crowd. LANCE MCCURLEY/Staff

Lake Oconee Academy senior Destiny McClendon scored her 2,000th point of her career in a win over Towns County High School on Friday, Feb. 5.

The UT-Chattanooga signee did it just midway through the third quarter against the Lady Indians, and head coach Kevin Furtado said she knew it was coming.

“She knew it ahead of time,” Furtado said. “Once she took that shot, I saw the smile on her face.”

Once the unique milestone was reached, play stopped and she was honored at mid-court with her father. McClendon received a standing ovation from the crowd and even received a fist bump from the opposing head coach.

McClendon said that the moment was surreal.

“I’m still kind of taking it in, because it was a great milestone, but it just makes me realize, like, I’ve been putting in a lot of work behind the scenes on the weekends and stuff,” McClendon said. “So you really start to feel that when you see the results of like, in 2,000 points, then, you know, my teammates being so happy, and it’s like picking me up, and caring for me and stuff and the crowd.”

McClendon explained that she couldn’t have done it without the support of her family, coaching staff and teammates.

“It’s just great that I have a good support system and knowing that at the moment maybe that’s how much work I put in,” she said. “It’s so good to get the results.”

Coming into the game, McClendon needed 31 points to accomplish her goal, and she did it in such a way that made Furtado proud.

“It’s not like she’s coming down, and, you know, taking bad shots,” he said. “She always gets it within our offense and she’s such a good team player. She gives out great assists. She does everything for us. I mean, but she’s been really a blessing to coach, man, I mean, she’s, she’s really kind of built our program.”

The milestone bucket came on a play where McClendon crossed under the basket, caught the pass, drove the lane, and made an athletic effort inside the paint.

McClendon added that in the moment, it reminded her why she loves the game.

“My dad played basketball, and my brother played basketball,” she said. “So eventually, I started playing. And once I started, I just, I love competing. And, and I love playing with my teammates. And I just like the competition part of basketball is so much fun. And, and I was really good at it. So when I kept working hard at it I got better. And I just wanted to play it.”

Although McClendon finally reached the 2,000 point club, Furtado explained that she’s hungry for more.

“She’s had a great career,” he said. “But she wants that championship. She wants that region title. She wants to compete for a state championship. I mean, she wants to do what the team is vying for.”

McClendon agreed and said there’s more work to be done.

“It was great to see all the hard work come together, but I know our team, we can still go further, and win the region championship and go to state,” she said. “… So, despite the outcome, I’m going to be very, very, very happy that I’ve had an opportunity to play with such an amazing team and been coached by such amazing coaches.”