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Fitzpatrick reaches 1,000 points as Blue Raiders roll over Milton Hershey

By Jason Maddux

jasonmaddux@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 1/16/19

Junior standout Katie Fitzpatrick scored her 1,000th career point Friday in a huge win for the Raiders at Milton Hershey.

Needing 16 points to reach the milestone, Fitzpatrick scored on a …

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Fitzpatrick reaches 1,000 points as Blue Raiders roll over Milton Hershey

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Junior standout Kate Fitzpatrick scored her 1,000th career point Friday in a huge win for the Raiders at Milton Hershey.

Needing 16 points to reach the milestone, Fitzpatrick scored on a breakaway layup via an assist from Joci Koser to reach the mark in the first quarter of the 47-13 victory that moved the team to 5-7 on the season.

“I was so excited and I was praying it went in. I realized I did it, I accomplished one of my dreams,” she told the Press & Journal via email. “I’m not one to get overly emotional, so I wasn’t quite sure how to act. Once I saw my team and coaches faces, it hit home.”

She is the eighth Blue Raider girls player to reach 1,000 points. Ja’Lynn Burton-Jones, who graduated in 2016, leads the way at 1,586. That mark will be within Fitzpatrick’s reach next year. Fitzpatrick has 263 points through 12 games this season, for a 21.9 average.

Fitzpatrick on Friday scored 33 points, including 3 of 3 from the 3-point line, with 2 assists and 8 steals. She had 22 points in the first quarter and 29 by halftime.

“She was extremely ready to play that night,” head coach Ron Pelletier told the Press & Journal. “I could just feel the fact that she was going to do it that night. I just didn’t know she was going to do it so early.

“She really came out on fire,” he added. “Most of her points were from her being aggressive defensively.”

Fitzpatrick said support from past and present coaches, family and friends overwhelmed her.

Kate Fitzpatrick goes in for her 1,000th point.

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“I have always said I have the most amazing support system around me, and I believe that’s why I reached my goal,” she said. “My team is amazing. They are my extended family. I love them all and could never have done this without them all, past and present.”

Pelletier said she was relieved to get her 1,000th point.

“I don’t know if she heard me, but I said that I was proud of her. It was pretty loud because she had a lot of fans there,” Pelletier said. “That’s a heck of an accomplishment, to get a thousand points that early in your career.”

Fitzpatrick said she wants to play her best each game, and be a good friend and leader to her teammates.

“She is probably the best team player that I know even though everybody knows her for scoring,” Pelletier said. “She does an excellent job of passing and getting us into our offense when we’re struggling, getting the ball up the court, playing good defense and helping her teammates out. She does it all for us. But the best thing she does is just her leadership on the court.

“Her leadership is probably better than her scoring. And her scoring is pretty good,” he added.

Fitzpatrick said she was inspired to play basketball because her brother and two older cousins always played and she wanted to be just like them.

“My parents and my brother are my biggest fans, and they know just what to say to keep me motivated,” she said. 

Her inspiration to become good at the sport and her love of the game came from her first coach, Brian Hofsass.

“He and I have an unbreakable bond until this day,” she said. “He taught me to master each part of the game not just scoring. He taught me you must have all the fundamentals mastered. Most importantly, he taught me to respect the game, my teammates, the coaches and referees. Be loyal to those around you and always know there is someone bigger and better than you so keep working.”

Fitzpatrick has four scholarship offers already — East Stroudsburg, Millersville, Lock Haven and Shippensburg — as well as interest from some others.

“It’s a dream come true to have this much interest,” she said. “It’s what I have been working for pretty much since the day I fell in love with this game.”

She thanked everyone who has cheered her on, supported her and been so kind to her over the years, and a “huge shout-out” to her family.

“I wouldn’t trade my teammates or coaches for anything in the world,” she said. “You can’t achieve something like this without all of them. It’s a team sport. So many coaches over the years have allowed me to spend extra time in the gym or helped me when I was frustrated or struggling with my game, and I want to thank them.”

In Friday’s game against Milton Hershey, Jae Keller added 2 points, 12 rebounds and 6 blocks against Milton Hershey. Koser had 2 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists.

Caroline Gill scored 4 points with 10 rebounds. Tamia Hill-Johnson scored 4 points, and Ayanna Reeves added 2 points and 7 rebounds.

The Raiders fell 52-37 on Jan. 9 at home to Northern Lebanon.

Fitzpatrick scored 20 points with 4 rebounds, 4 steals and 2 assists. She was knocked out of the game in the fourth quarter after she and another player collided, causing an injury and bleeding to the left side of her head.

Koser added 9 points and 5 rebounds. Keller had 6 rebounds and 3 blocks, with Reeves adding 4 points and 9 rebounds. Hill-Johnson scored 4 points.

“We’re getting better skill-wise,” Pelletier said. “We’re getting better playing team basketball. Part of it was getting used to me and things that I expected. I think we’re really starting to work much better together.

“We’ve just got to make those big plays, and I think we’re one step away from doing that,” he said.

The Raiders played host to Steelton-Highspire on Tuesday, and East Pennsboro comes to town on Friday before they play South Western on Saturday in a tournament at Gettysburg. They will play host to Camp Hill on Tuesday.