The next great Massachusetts girls basketball legend may have just played the first varsity game of her career.
For 18 years, Rebecca Lobo's 6-foot-4 frame stood head and shoulders above the Massachusetts prep girls basketball field. Her career total of 2,710 points in six varsity seasons from 1985-1991 stood atop the state's scoring list for both boys and girls.
In the meantime, she led UConn to a 35-0 season and the 1995 NCAA women's national championship as a college senior before playing seven WNBA seasons, including an All-Star campaign in 1999.
Then, 5-foot-4 Muslim-American sensation Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir took the Bay State by storm last decade, scoring 3,070 points over five varsity prep seasons from 2004-09 and earning a seat next to President Barack Obama at a Ramadan Dinner. She recently transferred from Memphis to Indiana State for her senior collegiate season.
But considering the performance of 12-year-old Dejah Jenkins in her varsity girls hoop debut over the weekend, Abdul-Qaadir's state scoring record may not last so long. Jenkins nearly notched a triple-double, amassing 20 points, 11 rebounds and eight steals in Boston (Mass.) Cathedral High's 44-34 win over Wakefield (Mass.) Nazareth Academy.
The 5-foot-5 seventh-grader at the small private school in Boston's South End wouldn't even be on the roster if first-year Cathedral coach Britney Papile hadn't decided to invite junior high students to participate in tryouts, according to a Boston Globe feature.
The daughter of current Boston Celtics assistant executive director of basketball operations Leo Papile, Britney has spent the past several years in the boys basketball realm as executive director of the Boston Amateur Basketball Club and reportedly had never heard of Jenkins until she started draining 3-pointers at the tryout.
“It’s a match made in heaven that I get to work with her,” Papile told The Boston Globe. “This is the beginning of a fantastic story.”
Of course, even if Jenkins averaged 20 points in 20 games over six varsity seasons, she'd still only score 2,400 career points, so there's always room for improvement.
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