By Jim Hague
Observer Sports Writer
The idea that Camila Alonso was approaching the prestigious 1,000-point plateau was totally foreign to the Lyndhurst High School senior forward.
“I didn’t know anything about it,” Alonso said.
However, last week, Lyndhurst head girls’ basketball coach Perrin Mosca did the math and realized that Alonso was 136 points shy of the milestone.
“Honestly, I got nervous,” Alonso said. “There was pressure on me to score more. If I scored 20 in a game, I was happy.”
“I told her that we’re getting to crunch time,” Mosca said. “I told her that it was up to her if she wanted to get there.”
Alonso never thought scoring 1,000 points as a varsity player was going to become an option. She first attended Lodi High School and didn’t see much action there.
“I was a JV (junior varsity) point guard at my other school,” Alonso said. “I didn’t learn a thing about post moves.”
When Alonso was a sophomore at Lyndhurst, she was relegated to a role on the Golden Bears’ JV squad.
Then, there was one special game.
“Everything just seemed to click for her,” Mosca said. “She scored 38 in a double overtime game.”
Alonso thought it was a few points less.
“I think I had 35,” Alonso said. “But I think that was the game that showed me what I could do.”
“After that game, her confidence showed and she started to play more for us,” Mosca said.
From that point on, Alonso became a focal point for the Golden Bears, averaging 13 points per game for the second half of her sophomore year and about 15 points per game last year as a junior.
When the 2012-2013 season began in December, Alonso knew she was a better player.
“I played a lot of basketball in the offseason,” said Alonso, who was part of the North Jersey Celtics, an AAU team based out of Lyndhurst. “I worked on my post moves and incorporated all of that into my game. I worked on my short range shot, like at the elbow. I worked on ball handling and passing. After that, I felt my post moves came easier.”
“She’s become more of a complete player this year,” Mosca said. “She’s one of the better players in our league (the NJIC Liberty).”
Alonso entered the week averaging 18 points and 13 rebounds per game, but she had no idea what was in store for her.
She started the week with a 25-point, 15-rebound performance in a 46-30 win over Emerson Borough, but that was nothing compared to what Alonso put up two days later against Leonia.
Last Thursday, Alonso had an unconscionable 46 points on 21-of-27 from the floor, grabbed 13 rebounds and had eight steals in the Golden Bears’ 73-40 victory.
Alonso’s 46-point effort broke the long-standing school record for points in a single game, set by the school’s all-time scoring leader Dawn Johnson, who went on to play at Seton Hall and later was the head coach at her alma mater. For her efforts, Alonso has been named The Observer Athlete of the Week for the past week.
Now, the 1,000-point mark is a lot more attainable.
“The other girls know that she’s getting close,” Mosca said. “I don’t tell them to get Camila the ball, but they know she’s close and want her to get it.”
Mosca said that he was amazed watching Alonso’s scoring explosion.
“It was really great to see,” Mosca said. “The girls all knew what the single-game record was. I certainly didn’t expect her to score that much. But she hardly missed a shot. She made every kind of shot, jumpers, layups, reverse layups. She was all over the place. You could sense that it was going to be a special night. I think it proves how unselfish our girls are. They got Camila the ball in great places where she could shoot. I never thought that record would fall. I figured it never would be broken.”
Alonso had no idea how many points she scored.
“I knew that I scored a lot, but I didn’t know how much,” Alonso said. “I knew what the record was. I saw that plaque a lot of times and said, `Wow, that’s a lot of points.’ I never thought I’d be able to get there. But around halftime, after all my shots were going in, I knew it was a special night. I didn’t know how much until after the game. It was amazing. I never dreamed I could do that.”
Alonso was set on going into the Marine Corps after graduation, but now, she’s started to think that she could play college basketball. Rutgers- Newark is among the schools interested.
“She’s had a glimpse of it now and she knows she can play in college,” Mosca said.
“I’m still deciding,” Alonso said. “Rutgers-Newark is looking at me and that’s a good thing. But I still think about becoming a Marine. I like the way they carry themselves with pride. But playing college basketball would be amazing as well. Either way, it’s a win-win situation for me.”
But not as amazing as setting the new school scoring record for one game.
“That’s pretty incredible,” Alonso said. “I still can’t believe it.”
As for the other milestone?
“I’m trying not to think about that,” Alonso said. “I don’t want to come up short. I’m really not worried about it.”
Alonso is a three-sport athlete at the school. She’s a fine defender for the Lyndhurst girls’ soccer team and will more than likely throw the javelin in the spring.
“I don’t like to sit around doing nothing,” Alonso said. “I don’t like to be idle. I have to keep busy. But basketball is definitely my favorite.”
As was proven last Thursday night, when Camila Alonso went for 46 points. It was truly a night to remember.