This story appeared in the January 26, 2018 edition of the Cortland Standard. To become a subscriber, email us, or call us at (607) 756-5665. Back issues available by request.
When she scored her first two points Thursday night, senior Caley Cornwell became the alltime leading scorer in Homer Central girls’ basketball history.
“It is a shame she couldn’t do it on her home court, but with the two snowouts the games had to be rearranged,” Trojan coach Jeff Tabel said. “Caley works hard for what she does. She does a lot of good things. She works hard in practice and in the games. All that hard work has paid off. Of course with Caley, shoulda, coulda, woulda scoring more points isn’t important. She’s been like that all along which may put her short of 1,000 for her career. We’ve had more wins due to her being a team player instead of worrying about personal goals.”
“I honestly wasn’t paying attention to it until the last game (Westhill),” Cornwell said after her 17-point effort against Cazenovia one week ago. “My dad told me I was close to the record. I really don’t think about it. Records don’t matter to me.”
Cornwell had gotten her points against Westhill inside but she has also scored outside, evidenced by her being in the top five in career 3-pointers made as well.
“As a freshman, my only goal was to beat my sister (Carissa) in every record,” Cornwell said. “After that, it was just like ‘Yea!’ when I was close to beating other people.”
Carissa Cornwell was a four year player from 2007-2011. She finished 13th on the alltime scoring list with 504 points and she is number two in career 3-pointers with 81. Caley has passed her in scoring, but the older sister gets bragging rights from beyond the arc.
With the big jump from 153 points as a freshman to 816 points currently as a senior, what has been the biggest change Cornwell has seen in her game?
“Probably my shot,” Cornwell replied. “I was trash as a freshman. I was mostly playing post. I just starting playing outside more last year. Shot development became a big thing for me because I knew I had to start making them with Macy (Boice), Maddie (Dimorier) and all our big shooters who were leaving. I knew I had to step it up.
“Shawnessy (Earle) is a great shooter, but you don’t want to put all the pressure on one person. I know I’m not big, but I like to play big so being a small forward is fun. I get a chance to beat out all those tall girls who think they’re hot shots. That’s fun, but just playing the game is fun.”
Since starting her basketball career in third grade Cornwell never expected to reach this mark, but, she acknowledges that it’s satisfying to set the scoring record.
“It is,” Cornwell said. “At times I hated it because it is almost year-round. There are days like I hate to go to practice, but it has paid off. It’s really great. I am excited to set the record. Again my sister was good, but it feels good to beat her.”
Cornwell will have a choice to make when she heads to college next fall. She is not just a good basketball player, but a good volleyball player as well. She plans to major in PT (physical therapy), but which sport will she choose?
“Everyone asks me this,” Cornwell replied. “It’s hard because I love basketball, but I also love volleyball. I would like to try for both teams and see which one I make. I would love to do both sports. My major will be PT. Basketball is my passion, but, after this volleyball season, I realize how I love it too and am sad I’m not playing now.
“I talked with Nazareth College and both coaches are all right with me doing two sports. I’m excited about that if I do go there and they both let me. Of course I will have to make both teams, but it is a possibility.”
No matter what she decides to do, Caley Cornwell has made her mark on girls’ basketball at Homer Central, and it could be a long time before someone replaces her as the all-time leading scorer.