Slashing, jump-stopping and sharp-shooting her way to 1,000 points, toughness characterized the path to a career milestone for Smith-Cotton senior Haley Wiskur.
“I want people to realize nothing can stop you if you put your mind to it,” Wiskur said.
Wiskur, who is committed to Rockhurst University, became the third Smith-Cotton girls basketball player to eclipse 1,000 career points in the first half of a 73-62 victory over Center High School. She drew a foul on the milestone basket, and sank the ensuing free throw.
After missing a couple of record-breaking shots, Wiskur said fighting through contact was a fitting way to join the 1,000-point club.
“I knew that it was going to happen when it wanted to happen,” Wiskur said. “After it fell, a lot of shots started falling after that one.”
Wiskur finished with 36 points to help beat the Lady Yellowjackets, matching a single-game record held by Donease Smith. Before Wiskur, Smith and Christian Sharp were the lone Lady Tigers to reach the mark.
The newest member of the Lady Tigers’ 1,000-point club said it was difficult to put the achievement in perspective.
“It’s really hard to think that people will even think about you that way,” Wiskur said of cementing her legacy. “I don’t know how Donease Smith, I don’t know how she would answer that question. … I just want to always be positive.”
Scoring about 80 points as a freshman and breaking the starting lineup as a sophomore, Wiskur underwent back surgery — sacrificing a summer of basketball. She said her back is still misaligned, and has learned to manage the pain in her hips, knees and ankles.
“I’ve been through a lot with my back surgery, and I want to show that nothing can hold you back,” Wiskur said. “I had obstacles, I took a whole summer off, and I still came back stronger than I was. Nothing can stop you from what you want to do. … I want people to realize nothing can stop you if you put your mind to it.”
Smith-Cotton athletic trainer Andre Taylor said he was surprised how quickly Wiskur returned from surgery, but has mostly worked with her in a “maintenance” capacity.
“She’s pretty tough,” Taylor said. “It’s one of those things where she might get nicked, she might get bruised, but she gets back up. She loves the game of basketball, that’s for sure. … She wants to play.”
Wiskur said a competitive drive — nurtured by her 12-year-old brother, Dax — prompts a pain-killing rush on the hardwood.
“Once you get going, the adrenaline kind of takes it,” Wiskur said. “Warm-ups, it will kind of hurt and I just think like, ‘Play through it. It’s just a game. You need to play.’ And I want to play. … During the game, I don’t really notice it.”
In addition to individual achievements, Wiskur counts leading Smith-Cotton to its first district tournament win since 2011-12 last season and, as a senior, helping the volleyball team claim its first district match since 2015 as career highlights.
Earning her place in Smith-Cotton lore, Wiskur said she wants to be remembered as a good teammate and entertaining player.
“I want to be looked at as hard-working, confident but not cocky,” Wiskur said. “A nice teammate and fun to watch — I love hearing when people say that, ‘You’re fun to watch play basketball.’ I take that as a great compliment.”
Alex Agueros can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @abagueros2.