by Michael Smith
Any time she can, Grace Slaughter goes to a gym in Grain Valley to work on her shot.
There were times when she stayed up as late as 11 p.m. getting up shots in the gym while her parents rebounded for her and passed her the ball after each shot.
That hard work and diligence has helped Slaughter reach yet another milestone in Monday’s Suburban White Conference game against Williams Chrisman.
Just a little more than six minutes into the game, after she made a pair of layups, the junior connected on a 3-pointer from the left wing, which prompted head girls basketball coach Randy Draper to call a timeout.
Unbeknownst to her, Slaughter’s teammates started patting her on the back and pulled out some signs. When put together, the signs read “Congrats Grace.” That’s because she broke the school record for points in a high school career, which was one that had stood since 2002 when Laura Reeves ended her career with 1,760 points.
That basket by Slaughter gave her 1,762 points and she now sits at 1,785 points following a 31-point performance in a 72-28 rout of William Chrisman in Suburban White Conference action.
“I saw my teammates jump up and down and I saw the signs go up,” Slaughter said. “It’s really humbling. My teammates support me, and this is definitely not a me scenario. I couldn’t have done this without my teammates, my coaches and my family.
“Everything that happened reminded me of the late nights and early mornings shooting at the gym. And my parents were there to help me and support me.”
And she’s not done yet.
The two-time, all-state selection and University of Missouri commit has seven regular season games remaining and the playoffs to add onto her record.
Oh, and by the way, she’s just a junior. She will have the entire 2022-23 season to build on her point total, as well.
“That’s a ridiculous amount of points,” said Draper, whose team improved to 16-2 overall and 5-0 on the conference. “And she’s just a junior which is unbelievable. Her work ethic is just untouched."
Slaughter scored 16 of the Eagles 31 first-quarter points to help her team take a commanding 31-4 advantage into the second period and the rout was on. Sophomore Annabelle Totta got to join in on the fun with her 14 points as she’s built a strong chemistry with Slaughter. It showed Monday when the duo connected on passes on the fast break.
“That’s a huge accomplishment and we are all super excited for her,” Totta said of Slaughter. “She’s a really great leader and makes it fun to play. Her energy in practice builds, and when she brings the energy, everyone else does, too.”
As a team, the passing for the Eagles has been on point, especially on Monday when Slaughter’s teammates fed her perfect passes over the top of the defense for layups.
“If you look at the record leaderboards, we have three girls in the assist-to-turnover ratio on our team,” Slaughter said. “That’s crazy. We work hard on it in practice, and I am lucky I have teammates who can help me get in a good position to score.”
Grain Valley junior Grace Slaughter looks for her shot on the low block. Photo credit: Michael Smith
Grain Valley sophomore McKenah Sears drives past a William Chrisman defender. Photo credit: Michael Smith
Grain Valley junior Grace Slaughter, No. 33, celebrates with her team after breaking the school record for points in a career which was previously held by Laura Reeves, who had 1,760 points. Slaughter scored a game-high 31 points in a 78-43 rout of William Chrisman Monday.
Photo credit: Michael Smith