At practice on Monday, Valencia High girls basketball coach Jerry Mike wanted the Vikings to know Kayla Konrad was on the cusp of breaking the school’s all-time scoring record.
“I said, ‘Just so you guys know, she is eight points away from the record,’” Mike said. “‘Just a heads up, she’s going to break it in the next game, and we’ll go from there.’”
Someone in the group piped up and said Konrad had already broken the record by one point.
They were right. In Saturday night’s CIF-Southern Section Division 1AA second-round win at West High of Torrance, Konrad’s 23 points gave her 1,774 for her career, one ahead of the mark Kelley Tarver set from 2001 to 2005.
Valencia’s statistician, Reggie Jordan, father of senior Jade Jordan, had passed along the news to Konrad’s dad before practice.
“It was cool,” Konrad, a senior, said of hearing about the record. “(But) it wasn’t a goal of mine.”
No, Konrad’s goals centered on making the year special for her teammates, specifically the three seniors — Jordan, Kenadee Honaker and Ashlee Ane — who were also entering their fourth varsity seasons.
Konrad wanted a better ending than 2016, when West Torrance upset the Vikings in the quarterfinals.
After the 43-41 loss, Tarver addressed the team.
She told the Vikings, “Keep your head up” and “Keep working hard.”
“We took that to heart,” Konrad said.
What ensued was another dominant season. The Vikings won a co-Foothill League title, their fifth straight crown, and at 24-5, they’re one win from the semifinals.
Konrad has scored 616 points as a senior after putting up 1,158 over her first three seasons.
When Tarver — also a four-year varsity player — departed for Cal State Bakersfield, Mike thought her scoring mark was safe.
“Her career average was 15 or 16 points a game,” Mike said. “…That’s a lot.”
But Konrad’s pair of free throws in the closing seconds Saturday changed that, though the feat hardly changed her modest demeanor.
“It’s humbling,” said Konrad, who is headed to UC Davis after graduation.
In addition to moving on to play NCAA Division 1 basketball, Mike says Konrad and Tarver have several things in common.
Both are left handed.
Both could play four positions.
Both brought a business-like mentality to practice everyday.
Konrad still has business to take care of at Valencia.
The Vikings host Los Alamitos on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in a CIF-Southern Section Division 1AA quarterfinal.