Benefield: Rincon Valley Christian's all-time scoring leader Caroline Chambers has 2,000 points in her sights
Caroline Chambers recalls one distinct feeling from her early days of high school basketball: The jitters.
“I remember being very nervous,” the Rincon Valley Christian senior said. “I had a lot of learning to do. I hadn’t really been a part of a basketball team with set plays.”
Apparently she has learned a thing or two in the last four years. The player who as a freshman had only a smattering of basketball experience on Tuesday broke Rincon Valley Christian’s career scoring record in the Eagles’ 49-25 road win against Tomales High.
Chambers’ 17 points on the night put her 10 points ahead of Teri Higgenbottom’s 11-year-old career record of 1,885.
She’s averaging 22 points per game and has a considerable stretch of her senior season still in front of her so is likely to see her career total — and the record — rise considerably.
“She is just a really good shooter from mid-range,” Eagles’ coach (and Teri’s dad) Richard Higgenbottom said. “She’s can create her own shot, she flashes to the ball, she can handle the ball. She’s a well-rounded player.”
The numbers back it up. Chambers, who is six-feet tall, is not only the most prolific scorer in Eagles’ history, she’s also the second-best rebounder ever, having crossed the 1,000 boards mark last month. In her senior campaign, in addition to those 22 points per game, she’s averaging nearly 10 rebounds and three steals.
Not bad for a player who didn’t play organized hoops until she was 12.
Chambers said she had long wanted to play basketball – her dad played – but she had to meet some family obligations first. Basketball was the carrot.
“I wasn’t allowed to play basketball until I had mastered Team Chambers, until I understood what that meant,” she said.
Team Chambers, in short, she said, is showing responsibility to, and honor for, family – her parents and her two younger sisters. For Chambers, a devout Christian, faith plays a major role in her life and guiding principles.
At 12 she earned the green light to play for Stony Point Christian in a church league. And then she strayed. She’d rather not say how, but said “It wasn’t good. I knew it was wrong. I wasn’t honoring my parents.”
She was pulled from the team.
“I had to write an apology letter to my team and coach,” she said. “I had to seek forgiveness not only with my parents but before god.”
“There were a lot of tears,” she said.
But Chambers said that Team Chambers and principles of teamwork and responsibility has helped her learn how to become a better teammate and eventually a leader.
“Basketball is a team sport,” she said. “My family, at home, has really helped me translate that.”
It’s real. When I asked Chambers what becoming the record holder means to her, she used the word “team” five times in 17 seconds.
Typically Rincon Valley Christian presents a basketball to players who have surpassed significant milestones. Chambers is on track for getting at least three balls this season – for passing the 2,000 point mark, for breaking the all-time scoring record and for grabbing 1,000 career rebounds.