SOUTHINGTON - After Maggie Meehan scored her 19th point in Wednesday night’s game against Bulkeley, Southington girls basketball head coach Mike Forgione pulled his senior captain. On the surface, it may have seemed like she was pulled because the Blue Knights were routing Bulkeley (they eventually went on to win 60-19), but it went deeper than that.
With the 19 points she scored in the game, Meehan’s total career points at Southington stood at 999. Forgione and Meehan had discussed before the game that she would be pulled once she got close as long as the game wasn’t in doubt.
The game wasn’t in doubt so that’s exactly what happened. Meehan’s family was unable to make the road game at Bulkeley so the decision was made to allow her to reach the milestone at home.
That home game was Friday night against Farmington. The Blue Knights would end up losing to the Indians 57-50, but in the second quarter, Meehan hit a baseline jumper and reached the 1000 point mark.
“Thank god,” Meehan said when asked what was going through her head when she got the bucket to reach 1000. “I hadn’t scored before that so I was starting to get a little bit nervous.”
Meehan finished the game with 16 points and has been Southington’s go-to scorer all season. The senior would have preferred to have her moment come in a win but did not downplay the significance of it.
“It’s a really important achievement to me,” Meehan said. “It’s a great thing to have. I wanted it to be in a win but whatever.”
Her coach did not downplay the achievement either.
The game stopped after Meehan hit the jumper and Forgione addressed the crowd to congratulate the senior while the crowd, filled with her friends and family, rained down with applause.
“It’s a great accomplishment for her,” Forgione said. “She puts a lot of work in and not only is she a great athlete, but she is a great student. She is a credit to all of the hard work that she puts in.”
Getting to 1000 career points shows what kind of player Meehan is on the floor but her significance to this year’s Southington team goes well beyond her scoring output or any other stats. She is the only senior on the team so she is looked to by her teammates to lead as well.
“It’s kind of hard because I don’t have any of my classmates that had initially been with me,” Meehan said. “But I have really good juniors to help me out too so it’s been pretty fun.”
Meehan feels comfortable in a leadership role and uses her style of play and actions to motivate her teammates.
“It’s a tough transition from middle school to high school basketball. So I try to help my younger teammates through that and I do that by playing with passion.”
While Meehan is the only senior on the team, she does have some familiarity with a couple of the younger players. Hartlee Meier is one of those players and she tries to feed off of Meehan because she brings so much to the table.
“I have been playing with her for a while now and we have been super excited for her to get to 1000,” said Meier, who had a game-high 26 points in the loss to Farmington. “She has definitely been helpful in every aspect. Offensively, defensively and even as a leader she is just an awesome teammate.”
Meehan is the point guard for Southington so she has control over the offense the entire game. As the clear go-to offensive option, she could shoot whenever she wants but is always sure to make it so that the team is getting good looks whether that means she gets her numbers or not.
“I always want the best shot possible,” Meehan said. “I have had a ton of practice at being a point guard so I know what shot is best for each player and we take the open shot whether that’s me or somebody else.”
At the end of the day, Meehan does what is best for the team and that is a coach’s dream. Forgione had nothing but glowing things to say about his senior captain.
“She is our leader,” Forgione said. “The girls really like her and they feed off of her work ethic because she brings it every day. I think it’s been a great experience for her and I think it’s kind of good that she is the only senior because everyone knows who they are looking towards.
“She has done a great job of leading the team all season and it has been beneficial to the younger kids.”
Even when Meehan graduates, her presence will still be felt with the Southington girls basketball team as everyone else will be back and will likely have learned something from her. Forgione couldn’t thank her enough for that and summed up how he feels about the new 1000-point scorer in a simple, yet telling, statement.
“I have a nine-month old baby girl at home and if she turns out to be like Maggie, I will consider myself a very lucky father.”
Michael Woolfson can be reached at 860-801-5203 or email@example.com