Patterson sets new school scoring record

Published 8:54 am Monday, March 2, 2020

NILES — Friday night’s regular-season finale against Lakeshore is a game Niles senior guard Alycia Patterson may never forget.

Patterson became Niles High School girls basketball all-time leading scorer after a three-point shot with less than two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. She was greeted with a standing ovation from the crowd as she walked off the court.

In the Vikings’ 64-22 rout of the Lancers, Patterson scored 28 points to surpass all-time leading scorer Sarah Dreher Workman, who previously held the mark with 1,205 points. She will enter districts with the new record at 1,207 points and counting.

“All four years, I’ve felt like each year I got better,” Patterson said. “Each year, my team got better as well. I feel like this is the first season where we have a good chance at districts.”

Patterson said becoming the all-time leading scorer is one of the most significant accomplishments of her life.

“When they told me I was the all-time leading scorer that was the happiest I’ve been in a while,” she said.

Going into the game, Patterson did not want to know the exact number of points she needed but kept hearing people say how close she was.

“I didn’t want to know because I didn’t want to go out there and try to be a ball hog and get all nervous about it,” she said.

Although Patterson will not always wear her Niles Viking jersey on the court, her mark on Niles’ program will be remembered.

“It’s going to be sad when I am not playing anymore,” she said. “But these four years have been really good.”

As Patterson received a decorated plaque with words and photos to commemorate the accomplishment, a hashtag, #heartnotheight, decorated the front. The same saying is on the back of her basketball shoes.

“It doesn’t matter how tall the person is in front of me, I am still shooting with all my heart,” she said.

In the Lakeshore victory, Patterson felt the team, herself included, had a slow start in the first half. Patterson scored eight points before the Vikings headed into the locker room. Her 20 points came in the second half, as she added one basket, a free throw and four 3-pointers.

During her final shot of the game, Patterson was joined on the court by her younger sister and sophomore guard Kamryn Patterson.

“Anytime you have family on the court, it means so much more,” Patterson said. “Hopefully, she can do the same thing as me.”

Celebrating Patterson’s endeavor was Niles head coach Jessica Johnson, who has coached Patterson for four years on varsity.

Johnson called Patterson a great person and student.

“Anything you can think of positive — that’s Alycia,” she said, following the game. “She is a hard worker. She is always in the gym, and always asking to come in, get more shots up and work more.”

She described Patterson as the type of leader who genuinely loves her teammates.

“She is just a great person to be around,” Johnson said.

With a Niles legacy to carry with her, Patterson hopes to play basketball at a four-year college and is still deciding on what school that will be.

Her eyes are set on districts next.

Niles will take on the winner of the Three Rivers and Buchanan game at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

“We are really prepared for districts,” Patterson said. “Of course, we still have some stuff to work on, but if we won districts, that would be the cherry, cherry on top. I’d be the happiest person in the world.”