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By Colin Harris | Staff Writer
Everyone in Portage County knows that Waterloo senior guard Jamie Willis could score in high volumes.
But during Saturday evening's 48-45 victory over Windham, Willis made sure that she finally had the milestone to back up her reputation.
Willis became just the sixth female in school history to eclipse the 1,000-point mark, joining former Waterloo greats like Shannon Beach and Cara Bedard in the rarified air of all-time scorers.
Before the game, Willis said she approached her impending milestone with the right frame of mind.
"I knew (going into the game) that I was just eight points away from 1,000," Willis said. "But I knew that I had to just play my game. If I thought about the record, I would be nervous."
As usual, Willis performed at a high level and achieved the milestone late in the first half before going on to finish the game with a team-high 15 points.
Instead of trying to force the issue, though, Willis let the game come to her and spent more time taking what the defense gave her, oftentimes finding her open, talented teammates.
Willis finished the game with six assists and has already totaled 11 dishes in two County Division games.
Despite her 5-foot-2 frame, Willis has found her way into the scoring column on a regular basis in her high school career. The four-year letterwinner averaged 14 points per game as a sophomore, then jumped that average to 20 per game last season as a junior.
Willis also set a Waterloo single-season record for 3-pointers last season when she buried 69.
"Jamie is one of those girls who can create her shots easily," Waterloo head coach Dave Hamilton said. "She's an athlete who can penetrate, but then step back to just outside the arc and hit a 3-pointer."
While being one of the more talented scorers in the PTC, Willis continues to display a knack for getting her teammates involved.
"I know my teammates are all athletic and talented, so I can depend on them," Willis said. "If teams know that they have to worry about more than just me on offense, then that is only going to take some pressure off of me."
Playing a team game is important to Willis, who has played with many of her current teammates for the better part of her life.
Fellow seniors Anna DeAngelis, Michaela Wise and Megan Forney have suited up with Willis for nearly a decade, while senior Laurin Wareham has played with the group since eighth grade.
"I've been teammates with Anna, Michaela and Megan since we were in third grade," Willis said. "We're all really comfortable with each other on the court and we're all friends."
Willis has also created a special perspective about the players that have come before her, especially those that she was able to play alongside.
"The past three years, I had a senior there for me who was showing me how things were done," said Willis, who was named Third Team All-Ohio last season. "So this season, I'm trying to help the younger players, because I know where they're at right now and I understand the position they're in.
"When we're on the court, I just try to keep everyone's head in the game and stay excited and upbeat."
Jamie sets an example for others on and off court. She also has a family and community who love and support her all the way. You Go, Jamie!