Girls Basketball

Central’s Kendra Wilken joins 2,000 point club

Kendra Wilken scored 24 points to lead the Central Cougars to a 62-37 win over Okawville on Saturday in the opening round of the Scott Credit Union Highland Girls Basketball Tournament.

Central, ranked first in the Class 2A state poll, improved to 18-3 with the win.

But Wilken had a bigger moment Thursday when she passed the 2,000-point mark in a 64-24 win over Cahokia Conference rival Columbia. She hit a 3-point jumper to end the third quarter to pass the milestone. After Saturday’s game, she now has 2,025 points in her career.

“I knew I was close to 2,000 but I didn’t know exactly how many points I had or needed to get to 2,000,” said Wilken, a 6-foot-2 all-state senior headed to St. Louis University next season. “My 3-point shot was a buzzer beater and since we had such a big lead I didn’t play the fourth quarter. It wasn’t until after the game when it was announced that I knew that I had done it.

“It’s a nice accomplishment to be able to score 2,000 points. But I owe a lot of my success to my coaches and teammates. I wouldn’t have been able to score those points.”

In late December, Wilken hit a free throw against Greenville to become Central’s all-time leading scorer — boys or girls. Wilken broke the marks of Lynn Klosterman (1,832) and Brandon Book (1,848) in that game.

“I’ve been really working on my 3-point shooting so it was great to go over the 2,000-point mark with a 3-point jumper,” Wilken said. “But I was alright with breaking the all-time record on a free throw against Greenville, too. Free throws are important and it seems like a lot of my points lately have come from the free throw line.”

Dean Criddle: 618-239-2661, @CriddleDean