H. Frank Carey senior Kim Lapinski is a major catalyst on a Seahawk team that has a chance at the county championship; she's helped her team make the playoff for the first time in over a decade; she even became the first girl in school history to record 1,000 points for a career. But, if you're waiting for Lapinski to brag or pat herself on the back, you can forget it.
In fact, in the game earlier this season against Sewanhaka, on a three-point play that put Lapinski over the 1,000 point plateau for her career, making her the first girl in school history to do so, she didn't even know what she had accomplished until the game was stopped. Other than Carey varsity basketball coach Kristen Hoffman and her assistant, no one else on the team was in on the secret.
"I thought I needed 100 points [for 1,000]," she said, although added that she thought it was a little strange that many of her relatives were attending the game that night.
Off the court, Lapinski has a quiet and low key demeanor, but on the court, she comes across as loud and clear to her opponents. "Kim doesn't like to talk about herself at all," said coach Hoffman. .
Lapinski's milestone came in a game just like any other and what was as important to her as scoring her 1,000th career point was beating a tough rival in Sewanhaka during a quest that's first stop is a Conference III title.
For the 5'10'' Carey basketball sensation, milestones and personal achievements are secondary. She simply wants to play the game she loves and help her team win, something she's done quite well in her basketball career. "Since she was in eighth grade, she has pretty much blossomed into a really strong, talented leader on the court. She is the focal point of what we do. As she and Meghan Karcher (another one of Carey's talented players) go, our team goes," said coach Hoffman.
Lapinski is part of a new generation of Carey girls basketball, one that has matured and gelled into a contender for the county title. Playing varsity basketball since the 8th grade, Lapinski as well as some of her teammates have gained experience and have formed a chemistry they hope will take them far into the playoffs.
The Lady Seahawks success stems from the hurdles the team has faced together. The successful formula of the Carey Lady Seahawks starts with its coach. Hoffman became the varsity coach five years ago, also Lapinski's first year as a varsity player and the two have seen the school's fortunes turn around.
When Lapinski scored her 1,000th point, coach Hoffman may have been more excited that she was. The Carey girls basketball coach has seen Lapinski and Karcher as well as some of her others players grow from eighth grade players trying to fit into the varsity level to among some of the best players in the county.
"It got me used to it," said Lapinski of playing varsity basketball for five years. "It made it easier playing with all the people I'm playing with now. We all developed together. We're really used to each other."
The commitment to the younger players has paid off for coach Hoffman and the Carey Lady Seahawks. Two years ago, Lapinski's sophomore year, the team made the playoffs for the first time in 16 years. "This whole class has been a major stepping stone. They have built a foundation for what's now called our program," Coach Hoffman said.
Lapinski hopes to eventually play at college. Her modesty shows through though when the topic of playing pro basketball comes up. "I don't think I could play pro," she said.
For now, Lapinski is just concentrating on helping her team reach the playoffs while keeping a low profile. "It's a little awkward," she admits when about speaking about herself.
On the court, the first Carey Lady Seahawk to reach the 1,000th point plateau is anything but awkward.