Senior guard Isis Rodriguez became the top scorer in the history of Morgan Park Academy’s varsity girls basketball program, passing Lopa Pandya’s record of 1,273 points on Dec. 2, 2017, against Elgin Academy.
Rodriguez needed 15 points coming into the game, and broke Pandya’s 14-year-old record on a layup in the fourth quarter of the Warriors’ 70-48 win in the ISL Girls Basketball Classic at U-High.
“It has been an honor to coach Isis the past four years,” MPA coach Tom Drahozal said. “We are proud of her reaching this mark and establishing herself among the best players in program history. I look forward to inducting her into our sports hall of fame some day.”
Rodriguez, a four-year starter, pushed past 1,000 career points last season, faster than any of the other seven players to reach that mark. After scoring more than 500 points last season, she also is a threat this year to the program’s season record of 556 points, set 25 years ago by Kate Kozacik Galley.
“I never in a million years expected this,” Rodriguez said. “But freshman year, when I had 198 points, and then 400-something sophomore year, it gave me a lot of confidence that I could score that many points.”
Saturday, Rodriguez finished with 20 points, including 12 points as MPA pulled away after beginning the fourth quarter with a six-point lead. She sat out most of the first half after picking up three early fouls.
The Warriors (6-1) kept Elgin at arm’s length in her absence, led by junior forward Amaya McLachlan (26 points), sophomore guard Samaria Harris (10 points), and senior guard Abigail Herman.
“When I had to sit out the entire second quarter, it made me doubt if I would reach the record today,” Rodriguez said. “So I was nervous, but once I got back in for the second half, I was really dedicated and kept pushing. Honestly, if I didn’t get it today, I would have felt like a failure, because I know I can play better than I did in the first half.”
After Galley became MPA’s first girls basketball player to surpass 1,000 points, her career scoring record — an exact number for which cannot be established because of incomplete data — was broken by Christine Linnerud, who finished her MPA career in 2001 with 1,165 points. The record then passed to Pandya, a 2004 graduate, three years later.
Only two players in MPA boys basketball history have more points than Rodriguez: Damon Williams, a 2010 graduate, scored 2,012 points, and Eric Kelly, a 2001 graduate, had 1,480 points.
Health permitting, Rodriguez seems poised to pass Kelly as well.
“We have nearly 20 games left this season,” Drahozal said, “so I’m sure she will end up establishing a record that will be around for many years and will be something for future players to strive for.”
MPA GIRLS BASKETBALL CAREER SCORING LEADERS
1. Isis Rodriguez ’18 — 1,278 points
2. Lopa Pandya ’04 — 1,273 points
3. Gabrielle Ogbevire ’16 — 1,230 points
4. Christine Linnerud ’01 — 1,165 points
5. Liana Akkawi ’08 — 1,105 points
6. Jaclyn Mortimer Latteri ’01 — 1,062 points
7. Shaneah Taylor ’01 — 1,051 points
8. Kate Kozacik Galley ’93 — 1,000-plus points*