Official or not, Horner's scoring exploits deserve recognition
Feb. 5, 2001
There will be a celebration at Southeast Lauderdale Tuesday night.
And even though it may not be recognized by the national media, it's going to get a little ink here.
Barring unforeseen circumstances, Southeast's Monique Horner will score at least 14 points Tuesday against Quitman. After all, Horner is averaging 36.3 per game and her season low is 23.
But 14 is all she needs to pass Missy Thomas of Gibsland (La.) Coleman High School.
Thomas, who scored 4,506 points in her career from 1992-95, is recognized as the nation's career scoring leader for modern (5-on-5) girls' high school basketball.
Chances are slim that Horner will ever be recognized for her accomplishment, at least on a national level even if she actually winds up scoring more points than any other girls' high school player in the history of the game.
Here's why. The list that Thomas tops is the most widely-accepted of those that exist. But it's also a list that only counts points that a player scores in grades 9-12.
As most of you know, Horner was brought up to the high school team as a seventh-grader because Southeast was struggling with injuries.
She scored 203 points that season, then tallied 443 as the team's starting point guard as an eighth-grader, when she made her one and only appearance at the state tournament in the Mississippi Coliseum.
In other words, 646 of Horner's 4,493 career points entering this week are not counted in the record book, which currently places her ninth on the "official" list with 3,847 points.
To tell you the truth, without extensive work that could take several months or maybe even a couple of years, there's no way to find out just how many points the girls on the list scored in their entire careers. All we know is how many they scored from the ninth grade on.
We are told that when Tupelo's Tan White cracked the milestone last week, she became just the 41st girls' player in the nation to ever score 3,000 points. We are also told that Horner is one of just seven players to ever top the 4,000-point mark.
When Horner became Mississippi's all-time leading scorer back in November, we thought she had a legitimate shot at breaking the record.
When she topped the 4,000-point mark in late December, we knew she could do it if her bum knee held up.
Now, the Lady Tigers have three regular-season games remaining, plus whatever they get in the postseason.
Southeast coach Joe Miller, whose team has won 15 of its last 16, is far more worried with getting out of the state's toughest division than he is about the record … at least for right now.
He says he's willing to put time into the battle after the season is complete, and I can't blame him.
After all, everyone should be on a level playing field. If you are going to limit the number of seasons, why not limit the number of games?
In Mississippi, teams can only play a certain number of games in the regular season, as well as a certain number of tournaments.
Other states have larger limits, some have smaller ones. In some states, there are no limits, and teams can still play as many as 40 or 50 games.
Therefore, if a kid plays 50 games per year for four years, they have an edge over a kid who plays in just 30 for six years.
I couldn't agree more.
Rocky Higginbotham is the sports editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.