In a time when more and more athletes seek individual attention, it's good to know there are still players like Sara Jones.
The Northwestern senior recently scored her 1,000th career point for the Lady Tiger girls basketball team. It's a goal many high school players aim for, but one few attain.
However, Jones preferred not to celebrate the individual accomplishment during the game. She even asked head coach Chris Deutsch to ignore her milestone and have the team play right through it.
"We have such a great thing going now," she said. "I don't want individualism sinking into any of the girls' minds. This really is a team. I couldn't do the scoring without the teammates I have around me."
Deutsch and his players wanted to honor Jones for what she has done to help the team over the last four seasons.
Jones crossed the milestone during a 16-point effort in last Wednesday's win at Allen. Despite her request, the game was halted to recognize her achievement.
"She has the final word on a lot of things, but not that one," Deutsch said. "She is all about the team."
During the celebration, Chicks' fans and Tiger supporters alike joined in.
"The most awesome thing was seeing everyone standing, even the Allen people," said Jones. "Allen was so generous at their gym. Their athletic director was awesome. He let us stop the game and my parents came out, the other team gave me flowers. It was a really special night. It was great to see the support, not just from my community but also from other communities that don't really know me."
Jones had been worried that too much hoopla over her accomplishment could distract the team. The Tigers are undefeated, 11-0 through Tuesday's win over Southern Lehigh and the team's leader cares more about wins than scoring points.
While she's happy that her 1,000th point is now in the books, there's also the school record of 1,110 points. After a 30-point effort against Southern Lehigh, Jones pushed her career total to 1,058.
"I'm glad it's over, but now people are saying 'Oh, you're going to break the school record,'" said Jones. "I just put that aside. We're focusing on playoffs. We're qualified for districts now, the next thing is qualifying for leagues and we'll take it from there."
Jones has been the team's leading scorer for four years and is filling that role again this season. This season she has has the best supporting cast of her four seasons.
When she came in as a freshmen the program was struggling. In each of her first three years the team won more games than the last.
"Her freshman year we went through some tough times," said Deutsch. "We won three games and it was tough. You could see how much she cared. She hates to lose with a passion."
As a freshman she scored 268 points (12.2 per game) as the team went 3-19. In 2010-11, Jones scored 269 (12.23) as the Tigers improved to 7-15. Last year she scored 343 points (14.29 per game) and guided the Tigers to league and districts playoffs as they went 15-9.
Jones played in an integral role in helping to rebuild the program, not only with her scoring, but also with leadership. Her unselfishness extends well beyond the 32-minute games.
Over the summer, during a Cedar Beach tournament, Jones made phone calls to arrange that the team show up an extra half hour before Deutsch had asked, just for extra practice time. During fall she took time after soccer practices to shoot around at open gyms.
"It's great when your best player is the first one to practice, last one to leave and leads by example," he said. "I'm so proud of her. She's such an unselfish type of player, a great leader."