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Medford High hoop star Tania Holmes joins 1,000 point club

Posted by Kathy McCabe  February 2, 2012 10:05 AM

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Bob McCarthy


Tania Holmes (with flowers) surrounded by family and friends and Coach Leo Burke (left) after the big moment.


Tania Holmes, the star point guard of Medford High's girls' basketball team, last night joined the school's 1,000 point club.

The senior captain hit the milestone on a free throw during the third quarter of Medford's 48-31 win over Georgetown.  Holmes scored 17 points over 22 minutes to become the sixth Mustang basketball player to score 1,000 points.

"I was so nervous," a smiling Holmes said after the game. "Every time it went up, I was was like, 'I hope it goes in.'"

Over 100 fans, including her former coaches and middle school teammates, filled Cooper Gymnasium. Classmates waved signs with the number "1,000" printed on them.  Shouts of "Go for it!" and "Shoooooot!"  filled the air nearly every time she touched the ball.  Each time she scored, another page was ripped off a giant  "count up" sign, revealing how close she was to 1,000.

"Kids were talking about her all day at school," said Conor Daly, 18, a senior lacrosse player, who cheered from the top row of the blue bleachers."We wanted to go crazy for her."

"It's something we're probably never going to see again," said Cullen Hussey, 16, a junior hockey player.

When she hit the magic number, Daly, Hussey, and eight other students held up big blue letters spelling "H-O-L-M-E-S-1-0-0-0."  Her teammates lifted her off her feet. Georgetown's players, coaches, and fans applauded. Holmes was joined at center court by head coach Leo Burke, her mother, Tarsha, sister Decara, 13, her grandmother, Carla Holmes, and other relatives.

She was given a basketball inscribed in Medford blue with her name, the date of the game. and 1,000 points. Burke presented Holmes and her mother with white flowers.

"I am so proud of her," Tarsha Holmes said, her eyes moist with tears. "She's been playing basketball since she was small. She started playing with the boys in the neighborhood . . . This is just so exciting."

Warren Anderson, who coached Holmes in CYO basketball, spotted her talent early on. "She was always smooth and quick," said Anderson, who sat in the first row next to Holmes's family. "She's very graceful. She does this all very easily."

The 5-foot-5-inch Holmes has drawn interest from Division 2 schools, but hasn't yet decided where she'd like to play college hoops. "I'm just thinking now on our team," she said.

The Mustangs, the defending Greater Boston League champs, are 11-5 this season. A win against Everett on Tuesday will make them league cochamps with Somerville. "We've had a good season," said Burke, now in his third year as head girls' coach. " 'T' [Holmes] has been a big part of it."

Holmes averages 26 points per game. On Tuesday, she  scored 30 points, leading her team to a 58-42 victory over archrival Somerville.  Last week, Holmes scored a career high 37 points as the Medford girls stunned then-unbeaten Lynn English, 52-50.

Still, Holmes had no idea she was close to scoring 1,000 points. "I was surprised when coach told me," she said with a shy smile. "I thought I had like 100 or more to go."

But after she scored a combined 67 points against Lynn English and Somerville, Burke knew Holmes was within easy striking distance. "She's a selfless player," Burke said. "It wasn't something she was thinking about all the time ... But, she is just such a great kid, a great teammate ... We wanted this night to be special for her."

Holmes took a seat on the bench with two minutes left to play after scoring a total of 19 points against Georgetown, leaving the court to a standing ovation. "The cheering was huge for me," she said. "I'm so thankful to everyone who came out to see me play tonight."

Holmes is  the first Medford High player to score 1,000 points since Andrew White two years ago. Other Mustangs who've accomplished the feat are Gene Bane and Kristen McCormack in 1995; Denise Pachan in 1994; and Alyssa Sluz in 1983. Holmes's  name will be added to a banner honoring the 1,000 pointers that hangs on the wall in the gym.

"We'll take the banner down and send it out right away," said Bobby Maloney, the school's athletic director.  "Aside from being a great player, Tania is a super kid."

Kathy McCabe can be reached at kmccabe@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeKMcCabe.


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