Boothbay Region senior Glory Blethen needed 16 points Feb. 15 entering the Lady Seahawks high school girls’ basketball game to score her 1,000th career point. Midway through the third quarter, she buried a long 3-point shot to achieve the historic milestone. Blethen scored 20 points in her team’s 41-33 loss to Medomak Valley. But her achievement still gave her team, family, community and her an opportunity to celebrate during the most unusual Maine high school basketball season in history.
Blethen’s love of the game helped her persevere and reach a milestone only six other Lady Seahawks and 11 Boothbay Region basketball players have achieved. Blethen scored her 1,000th point with an assist from a teammate who she has played with since the two started playing Y Ball in second grade. Trailing 38-32, guard Kylie Brown found Blethen open for her only successful 3-point shot of the game. “I thought it was great Kylie had an assist on it,” Blethen said. “I’m super excited and thankful to these girls (Brown and junior Jaelyn Crocker) because I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.”
The last Boothbay 1,000-point scorer is Blethen’s former teammate and sister Faith Blethen who is playing college basketball for George Washington University. For coach and father Brian Blethen, Glory’s 1,000th point was reminiscent of Faith’s milestone. “I was thrilled Kylie Brown was the one delivering the crosscourt pass and have Glory knock down the three,” he said. “It brought back the memory of Faith as she hit a long 3-pointer, but from the other side. Glory had a defender in her face and she hit a very difficult shot.”
On Jan. 26, Medomak Valley beat Boothbay, 71-43, in Waldoboro. Blethen scored 18 points that night, but Boothbay knew the Lady Panthers would make scoring difficult for Boothbay’s leading scorer. The Lady Seahawks had a strong start with Blethen scoring eight of 10 first quarter points in forging a 10-6 lead on Monday night, but after that, Medomak Valley’s defensive pressure stymied Boothbay’s offense. The Lady Seahawks scored only one second quarter point, a Blethen free throw, and trailed Medomak Valley 18-11 at halftime. “Coach (Ryan) McNelly wasn’t going to just let Glory score. He made it difficult for us to score, especially with the players who guarded Glory. It was a struggle, and they definitely made her earn it,” he said.
When last season ended, the Lady Seahawks lost in the Southern Maine Class C regional championship game ending their one-year reign as state champions. Blethen was a three-year starter entering her senior year and within reach of the 1,000-point milestone. But a couple weeks later, the entire world changed with a coronavirus pandemic. The high school spring sport season was cancelled and returned in the fall with a shortened season and no tournament. The basketball season was delayed and shortened also with no Maine Principals’ Association tournament. The shortened season made Blethen’s quest for a thousand points more difficult.
On Feb. 11, Blethen moved within range of the milestone scoring 28 points Feb. 11 against Richmond. Blethen had scored 984 points in her high school career entering the Medomak Valley game. The Lady Seahawks were aware their teammate was approaching her 1,000th point, but there hadn’t been much discussion. “We’re all so happy for her. She’s a great player, and really deserves her success,” said Brown. “We all knew about it, but we didn’t really discuss it because we didn't want to jinx her.”
The only official discussion came at the practice prior to the Feb. 15 Medomak Valley game. “Coach brought it to our attention that this might happen tonight,” junior Jaelyn Crocker said. “I think everyone was nervous, and once she made her 1,000th, I think we all played better because the pressure was off the whole team.”
The shortened season and lack of a trip to Augusta in search of another Gold Ball has left Blethen philosophical about her senior season. She is more focused on the season that is, not the one that isn’t. “I feel fortunate that there is a season at all,” she said.
Next fall, Glory will attend the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut and play basketball for the Division III school. She was one of 42 high school seniors receiving a Maine congressional delegation appointment to a U.S. military academy. Last fall, Blethen received a Merchant Marine Academy nomination. Her ambition is a long career as a ship’s captain which had her torn between the Coast Guard and Merchant Marine. “I really like their mission statement (ensure our nation's maritime safety, security and stewardship). Serving my country is important to me. When I visited the campus, I loved the culture and especially the leadership aspect of their educational program,” she said.
As a high school basketball player, she has made her coach and father proud of her accomplishments. “She is an unselfish player. Glory wants to contribute and doesn’t want to weigh down her team whether it’s The Maine Firecrackers (Amateur American Union team) or the Lady Seahawks,” Brian Blethen said.