Senior captain Tyra Melendez scored her 1,000th career point on Monday night, leading the Rivers girls’ basketball team over St. George’s, 52-32, in Weston. The best part about her record breaking performance was that the point guard had no idea it was coming.
“We kept it a secret from her," said Rivers coach Bob Pipe. "During the half I told the team that she only needed two more points.”
The Red Wings came out looking for Melendez in the second and when the 12 minute mark hit she connected on a jumper to reach her milestone.
“We stopped the game and the girls just attacked her," said Pipe. "She didn’t even know why and after we told her, she just started crying, It was great. The girls on the team love her. I think they were more excited than she was.”
Unfortunately, Melendez’s parents couldn’t attend her historic night because they are currently visiting a sick family member in Puerto Rico. In their absence, Melendez has been pulling double-duty, taking care of her little brother every day after school and playing basketball.
Melendez, who has committed to play for the University of Rhode Island, had another big supporter in the stands. After URI coach Cathy Inglese heard that Melendez’s parents couldn't make the big game, she made sure to be there for her future point guard.
Melendez has always had basketball in mind. She grew up in Mattapan and played basketball at all the local playgrounds, joining an AAU team in the fifth grade. Melendez was also part of the "Stepping Stones Program" in Boston, where Pipe first noticed her talent.
After meeting with the coach, Melendez enrolled at Rivers and by the time she made it up to the ninth grade she was already a shoe in for the varsity team.
With the win, the Red Wings are now 16-2 on the season under Melendez’s leadership.
“She’s a great leader on and off the court,” said Pipe. “She’s a great fit and we are very fortunate to have her.”
Melendez, who played for the U18 Puerto Rican National team her sophomore year, has been unstoppable since returning.
Melendez has averaged 11 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists a game and was the NEPSAC League (Class B) MVP last season.
“She’s a special kid,” said Pipe. “It’s not just about basketball. She’s a better kid than she is a basketball player and that’s how schools will remember her.”
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