North Callaway

Blevins scores 1000th in North Callaway girls’ Senior Night win vs Wright City

By Jeremy Jacob, Sports Editor
Posted 2/7/24

For Riley Blevins and the North Callaway girls, it seemed events played out as if they were scripted.

North Callaway Girls Senior Night Photo Gallery

The senior needed 11 points on Senior …

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North Callaway

Blevins scores 1000th in North Callaway girls’ Senior Night win vs Wright City


For Riley Blevins and the North Callaway girls, it seemed events played out as if they were scripted.

North Callaway Girls Senior Night Photo Gallery

The senior needed 11 points on Senior Night to reach 1,000 for her career, and Blevins accomplished that on a 3-pointer, giving the Ladybirds an early boost before their 71-27 victory over Eastern Missouri Conference foe Wright City. Blevins finished with 28 points, nine rebounds and five assists.

“It’s awesome,” Blevins said. “I’ve been playing varsity since my freshman year so it’s like a lot of hard work has paid off.”

Not all of Blevins’ varsity seasons were played with North Callaway (16-7, 6-2 EMO). She transferred to the Ladybirds’ program as a sophomore, and has been a multiple-time all-conference and all-district player, but spent her freshman year in Mexico. As a Lady Bulldog, Blevins said she witnessed someone scoring her 1,000th and thought from there she wanted a moment like that too, no matter how long it took.

“I had Mya Miller in my freshman year,” Blevins said. “I was like, ‘Wow.’ I’ve always been someone who scores eight or nine points a game since my freshman year so it’s very much like slow and steady.”

Head coach Andrew Klein said North Callaway did well pushing the ball, whether Wright City (6-13, 0-5 EMO) had a missed or made basket on the other end. He said the Ladybirds have guards, like Blevins, who can thrive in transition.

“We’ve got good guards that have good vision,” Klein said. “It’s really important to me that we push that ball. We’ve got girls that can get up and down the floor and do stuff.”

Klein said it helps when shots are falling too, and that sure was the case for Blevins in the first quarter. Even though Blevins said is someone who averages just below 10 points per game, she had the magic number 11 points halfway through the first quarter, giving North Callaway a 12-8 lead and a moment to recognize her accomplishment.

Blevins’ parents had balloons and signs ready as soon as their daughter stepped back and hit the momentous 3-pointer. Several “1,000” signs emerged in pockets of the crowd as Blevins took a moment at half court, which is certainly well-deserved according to her head coach.

“I didn’t know she was going to get it in the first few minutes of the first quarter, but she did,” Klein said, with a grin. “She is a heck of a player, and she does a really good job in all facets, not just scoring. This year, specifically, she's done a good job scoring and I think people are starting to realize. In years past, it has been her passing ability or ball handling ability. Well, she’s a threat to score too.”

Klein said he likes how Blevins’ teammate fed her the ball just like she normally feeds the ball to others. Passing has felt natural to Blevins for a while.

“I’ve always been a true point guard and have always loved passing,” Blevins said. “I’ve always seen the floor really well so it’s been do what’s best for the team first. I’ve had my open takes and opportunities, but I’ve always been a team-first kind of person.”

Blevins went from one loaded team in Mexico to another when she was paired with her fellow reigning all-conference player Natalie Shryock at North Callaway. Beyond that, there are several others for North Callaway that have shown a capability and willingness to take over games, such as fellow senior Abrielle Burgher — seven points and 10 rebounds.

This makes it easy for Blevins to situate in her role as the Ladybirds have risen higher and higher over the past three years, going from 11 wins to 15 the next year and 16 this year after the Wright City win. 

“When I was a freshman at first, it was a lot at first to play with 18-year olds,” Blevins said. “I started to play within myself and learn my type of game. I like to work hard, and I think that pays off well. I’ve definitely grown from knowing my ability and how I can contribute to the team.”

Lakyn Hartley is another girl Blevins and the Ladybirds can rely on, oftentimes as a rebounder but sometimes as a big scorer. Hartley did just that in the third quarter when she scored 13 of her 18 points to go with eight rebounds following a quarter Wright City adjusted to North Callaway 28-10 first-quarter outburst with an even 12 points for each side in the second.

“There were a couple possessions in the first half where she refused to shoot or wasn’t looking to shoot,” Klein said. “That just can’t happen because Lakyn’s too good of a player. Going down into the locker room, I let her know that — in a positive way I hope. It clearly clicked. These girls are coachable.”

Other than one of his seniors having a memorable night, Klein had five seniors who were honored for their contributions to the program. Blevins and Burgher are regular starters, but there were three more seniors — Corynne Miller, Pressley Schmauch and Lauren Reicke — who were introduced in the starting lineup. The group finished with some points and rebounds before the end of the game, including Riecke pulling down five rebounds to help North Callaway outrebound Wright City 50-23. 

Klein said the opportunity couldn’t have been any more perfect. He said it was easy for him to install his seniors in all five spots after what they’ve done to help his first season as a basketball head coach be as successful as it has been, achieving the program’s most wins since 19 in 2017 with more regular season games left. 

“A lot of it goes behind the scenes of how they act in practice, and how they act in front of the younger girls to show them how to lead,” Klein said. “That’s what’s going to be remembered by those girls and how hard they push each other in practice.”