PARLIN – On Feb. 16, Sayreville War Memorial High School girls basketball player Stephanie Van Note etched her name into the school’s history books by surpassing 1,000 career points.
A joyful moment of accomplishment that seemed unlikely to occur just a couple months prior because of the uncertainty revolving around the coronavirus pandemic happened when Van Note drove to the hoop in the first quarter for a fastbreak layup.
The basket was part of an “amazing night” that Van Note got to experience in Parlin with her teammates and family members in attendance.
The senior knocked in a career-high 30 points to lead Sayreville to a 55-50 victory over Edison High School, making the night an even sweeter one for Van Note.
“I was exuberant,” Van Note said in an interview about her 30-point performance. “I was so happy to surpass 1,000 points and have a good scoring night. Getting the win was a huge part of it as well. It was an amazing night.”
Van Note is the seventh player in the program’s history to reach the 1,000 point mark.
During her 16 years with the Sayreville girls basketball program, Coach Janet Cook has seen five players surpass 1,000 points and has been the head coach for the last two 1,000-point club members.
Isi Enahoro was the last girls basketball player from Sayreville to score over 1,000 points back in 2017. Jackie Rodriguez accomplished the feat three years earlier for the Bombers during the 2013-14 season.
Being the Bombers’ top defender during her freshman and sophomore seasons, Van Note knew she had to improve her offensive game and become a top scorer to help Sayreville win games going into the 2019-20 season.
She also took on the challenge of being the team’s point guard and flourished in the role by leading the Bombers to a 17-10 record.
Van Note averaged just around 17 points a game during her junior campaign and tallied over 200 more points (458) than she did as a sophomore.
“Her growth over the past four years has been exciting to see,” Cook said of Van Note. “It just shows how hard work pays off.”
In her eyes, Cook believes Van Note continues the trend that “being determined and working hard work does pay off,” and that her success is something younger girls in the school district can look up to.
What Cook is most impressed by from her senior point guard is how much of a leader Van Note has become over the past two years.
“This is her team,” Cook said. “Everyone listens to her. We’re going to follow her lead.”
A chance to have a senior season was Van Note’s “main concern” during the offseason as the high school basketball community awaited the decision of this season’s fate from the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association.
Whether it was only “one game or two games,” Van Note just wanted the chance to be on the court one last time with her teammates.
Once the NJSIAA approved a 15-game season, it came time for Van Note to set her sights on 1,000 points.
Standing only three points shy of the 1,000-point mark heading into the game against Edison, Van Note knocked in both her free throw attempts from the strike to start the game.
One point now just stood in the way of Van Note achieving her lifelong dream and it became a reality moments later when she knocked in a layup to give Sayreville an 8-6 lead and stamp her name into the school’s record books.
Emotions ran wild after Van Note hit the layup as her teammates came out on the court to congratulate her and people in the bleachers stood to give her a standing ovation.
“It was so emotional,” Van Note said. “Everyone came out to congratulate me. I was so happy.”
Van Note has recorded 168 points through the first eight games of the season and has helped Sayreville get out to a 5-3 record going into its contest against New Brunswick High School on Feb. 20.
The senior has been on fire through the last four games, averaging 22.8 points in that stretch where the Bombers are 3-1.
From picking up a basketball back when she was three years old to now being a 1,000-point scorer, Van Note is “grateful” for the success she has had on the hardwood.
Her future on the court after high school is still unknown, but for now, Van Note is hoping to finish out her senior season by leading Sayreville to a winning record and earning all-conference honors.
“It’s very exciting to have a season,” Van Note said. “Getting 1,000 points has been a goal I have had for my whole life. It feels amazing. I am so happy.”