Growing up in Sparta, Laney Copeland built her basketball reputation in the paint. She was a dogged defender and rebounder, doing the dirty work in hopes of shining on the hardwood. Back then, just getting a point was the goal – dreams of being a 1,000-point scorer were way off in the distance.
They aren’t now. Copeland put her in record books Monday, becoming the latest Lady Bronco to reach the scoring milestone. It took less than two seasons for the star to make her mark at Boyd, where she’s blossomed into a feared shooter and allaround scoring savant in orange and blue.
“It’s great to see Laney succeed on and off the court,” said coach Tim Page, who has witnessed Copeland ascent over the last two winters. “As good and valuable of a player she is for our team, she’s an even better young lady. I couldn’t be happier for her to achieve this important milestone in only two years with the program.”
If Copeland went into the matchup anxious about the scoring mark, it didn’t show once the ball went into the air. She started the scoring just seconds after the tip, slicing her way to the goal for an easy layup. She followed with a 3-pointer from the right corner, one of her favorite spots at JK Stanley Gymnasium, then hit a free throw and two more layups to get within a bucket of the milestone.
Just before the first quarter ended, Copeland found herself in position to reach 1,000 points. The Lady Broncos forced a steal and Audrey Durham saw Copeland out in front with nobody else around. She corralled the pass, gathered at the rim and was able to spin in a righty layup as the gym erupted in celebration.
Page immediately called timeout and presented Copeland with a basketball to highlight the accomplishment, one that he knew his star shooter was capable of the moment she walked on the court at Boyd.
“Laney was an instant jolt of offense when she joined the roster. When we added her to the lineup, it changed how teams defended us. She stepped into the point guard role and used her speed and shiftiness to develop into a threat off the dribble to go along with her perimeter shot,” said Page. “This season, I’ve challenged her to continue to build on those skills and become a great on-ball defender. She meets every challenge.”
Copeland went on to score 20 points in a dominant 62-23 victory over Riverside Christian Academy. It was Boyd’s seventh win in a row, a streak that has coincided with Copeland scoring at will and firing away from deep, even despite a nagging thumb injury.
Copeland still wears a wrist guard on her left hand to protect her thumb – which she hurt Jan. 16 at Sewanne – and still piles up points. She has reached double figures in all seven of the wins, with Monday’s 20-point outing being the highest total during the run. She’s now scored 20 or more points four times this season and 19 times since joining the Lady Broncos last year.
She’s far from done too. Boyd has two more games left in the regular season before it will take part in the TSIAA and NACA tournaments in the coming weeks. And there is the bad news for all TSIAA
opponents – Copeland is just a junior.
That’s great news for Boyd, which will be putting Copeland’s name on the wall at JK Stanley Gymnasium very soon. If she keeps up her current scoring pace, maybe her jersey will hang in the rafters someday too.