Chastin Giles came out shooting on Thursday. After years of hard work and countless hours in the gym, her moment of career achievement had arrived.
From the green and white of Bishop McGann Mercy to the scarlet and black at Pierson, the Lady Whalers’ senior point guard put up 16 points in the first quarter alone against Smithtown Christian on Thursday and scored her 1,000th career point on a baseline drive with 15.5 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Giles, who transferred from Mercy to Pierson as a sophomore, is just the fourth girls basketball player in school history to reach the career milestone, joining Kate Browngardt, Robyn Bramoff and Katie Kneeland, her teammate from last year.
“I’m really honored and I thank my teammates and everyone who has helped me out over the years,” Giles said after scoring 23 points in a 60-27 victory. “I really didn’t think it was ever going to happen until earlier this year when someone told me it was possible.”
With a sizable crowd buzzing at the opportunity, and with young girls from Sag Harbor Youth Hoop adding up her points as the game progressed, Giles came out from the start looking to score. She hit two three-pointers in the first quarter and several other long-range jump shots. Needing 22 points for 1,000 — she had 19 points at halftime —Giles hit another long jumper early in the third quarter and broke the barrier on a nifty move down the right baseline for a layup.
The game was stopped as Whalers Nation celebrated just the 12th player to reach 1,000 points in their career, and the fourth in the last three years alone.
“Chastin works really hard,” Pierson head coach John “Woody” Kneeland said about his senior leader after the game. “This kid is in the gym endless hours shooting. People say, ‘How can she have a thousand points?’ It’s because she worked for it.
“People don’t work half as hard as she does, not a tenth as hard,” Kneeland continued. “She watches endless film on our opponents. She puts in the work and she deserves this.”
Giles sat for most of the second half while her teammates finished off their 10th win of the League VII season. The Lady Whalers (10-4, 11-7 overall) trail Port Jefferson (12-2) and Mattituck (10-3) in the league standings with two road games remaining, at Greenport on Monday, February 3, and at Mattituck on February 5.
There are no other Class C teams in Suffolk County, so the Lady Whalers will compete in the overall county tournament before turning their attention to the Long Island Championship, and possibly a regional game in the state playoffs.
One thing that is certain is the team will only go as far as their senior point guard will take them.
“She’ll admit to the end that she’s a pass-first guard,” Kneeland said about Giles. “But we as a team struggle to score so she’s been playing that role all year. She has to put it in the basket.”
Giles lights up when talking about her teammates. Even when she was short of 1,000 points on Thursday, she consistently set up junior Grace Perello with razor sharp passes in the paint that Perello converted to the tune of 14 points. Chiara Bedini scored nine points and Sofia Mancino had eight.
“Once she settled into the game today she helped her teammates a lot,” Kneeland said. “She made a lot of great passes.”
Kneeland talked about the future Lady Whalers in the crowd on Thursday night, who spent last year following Katie Kneeland’s chase of 1,000 and now got to see Giles reach the milestone as well. He said Sag Harbor has created an “unbelievable vibe” in its youth hoop program, and that the trend is to have a strong girls basketball program for years to come.
That love of the game — the same excitement that was in the eyes of so many young girls in the crowd on Thursday — is what has driven Giles to this day.
“It’s a lot of time and hard work, but I love it,” Giles said. “It’s never a chore for me. I really, really enjoy it.”