Published February 05. 2014 4:00AM
East Lyme - It was the final time Jenna Schumacher caught the ball Tuesday night and opposing coach Willie Bousquet, the veteran now in charge at Woodstock Academy, let out an audible sigh.
East Lyme High School's 5-foot-11 senior forward, Schumacher let the ball go in an instant, over the defense and from well behind the 3-point line, and it swished through the basket easily.
"She's the real deal," Bousquet said. "She's got the range. Our zone swung and she caught it on the weak side. She's automatic when she gets a look like that."
Schumacher finished with 13 points in East Lyme's 53-18 victory over Woodstock in an Eastern Connecticut Conference Large Division game at East Lyme Middle School, becoming the Vikings' all-time leading scorer with her first basket of the night on a drive down the lane.
Schumacher eclipsed the career record of 1,186 points set by Elizabeth Buckley in 2006, coming into the game just one point shy of the mark and now totaling 1,198. She hit a pair of 3-pointers in the second half.
The Vikings are 11-5 overall, 5-3 in the ECC Large Division.
A member of The Day's 2013 All-Area Volleyball Team as an outside hitter, as well as the ECC champion in the javelin last spring (117 feet, 5 inches), Schumacher will play her "best sport," basketball, beginning next year at Division III Amherst College.
She credits Buckley, her AAU coach the last two seasons with the Connecticut Storm, as one of the people who has taught her.
"She's definitely helped my basketball, always working on this move, or being quicker with this move," Schumacher said of Buckley. "I haven't talked to her about (breaking the record), but she's always supporting me. I don't even know what to say … Elizabeth set the standard so high (at East Lyme)."
East Lyme coach Colleen Hardison, who also coached Schumacher in AAU beginning when she was 12, said a lot of the credit goes to the player.
"It's not often you see somebody with the work ethic that she has," Hardison said. "She's a really hard worker. I've always known it from Jenna, always working in the offseason. That's what you have to do if you want to get to the next level and Jenna has that.
"Her dedication to get better is endless. She's the last one to leave practice. She's still in the gym, 'Coach, can you watch my 3-point shot and see what's off?' … It couldn't happen to a better kid."
Bousquet and Hardison both say what makes Schumacher so hard to stop is her versatility. Last year she led the Vikings in points (14.5 per game) and rebounds (8.9). Just before she unleashed her pair of 3-pointers against Woodstock, Schumacher took the ball end-to-end, driving for a layup when the defense failed to stop the ball.
Bousquet started the game with his team playing a box-and-one against her.
Schumacher still has time to add to her point total, too. Just what every opposing coach doesn't want to see: her catching the ball with the game on the line.
"Coach kept saying tonight, 'Drive to the basket, drive to the basket,' and when we did that is when we started scoring and put the game away," said Schumacher, the daughter of Jackie and Dale Schumacher. "… In practice I just kind of go through the situations, 'If I catch the ball here, how can I position myself to be a scoring threat?'
"All day today I was trying to be as calm as possible. Once I hit the first shot, that kind of calmed me down."