Girls basketball: Peterson sets Catholic Central career scoring mark

Credit: Michael Cooper

Credit: Michael Cooper

SPRINGFIELD — At 7 years old, Abbigail Peterson and her friends around the neighborhood spent countless hours playing basketball on an eight-foot rim across the street from her house.

“I always wanted to play and compete and shoot jumpers,” she said. “Every single time I saw someone do something, I always wanted to learn how to do it and get better. I loved the competition aspect of it.”

She’s never stopped shooting. The Catholc Central High School senior set the program’s career scoring mark during their game against Lehman Catholic on Feb. 3 — even though she had no idea it was happening, she said.

“They called a timeout and everybody had flyers out,” Abbigail Peterson said. “It was an amazing feeling.”

The senior now has 1,429 career points, surpassing the previous mark of 1,389 points set by Liz Rigel in 2002.

“It was one of those things where you were just glad it was over,” said Irish coach Brandon Peterson, Abbigail’s father. “We tried to stay very quiet about it and no one even knew she was close. Our main goal this year was to win a championship. Last year when she scored her 1,000th point, it seemed like there was such a distraction around that. To see it finally happen, it was huge relief because we were ready to get back to business.”

The Irish accomplished their goal a few days later, winning their first Ohio Heritage Conference South Division title since joining the OHC in 2001. They beat Greenon 31-30 on Feb. 6 to clinch at least a share of the title and later won the outright championship.

“It was such an amazing feeling to have everybody run out onto the court and know that we finally beat Greenon, our rival these last couple years,” Abbigail Peterson said.

Abbigail Peterson also holds the career mark for assists, 3-pointers and most games played. The senior point guard describes herself not as a scorer, but as floor general who is “an extension of the coach on the floor,” she said.

“I like to talk and lift my teammates up,” she said. “I like to get everybody involved.”

As his daughter’s coach, Brandon Peterson said it’s been difficult to celebrate her accomplishments as an individual because they’ve been so focused on the program’s success.

He’s been doing his best to “slow down and smell the roses” this season,” he said.

“I’ve been trying to pay more attention to her accomplishments and enjoying seeing her reach her goals,” he said.

Abbigail Peterson will continue her career in college next season at Division II Arkansas-Monticello.

“I’m really, really excited,” Abbigail Peterson said. “I’m sad that the season is ending and that I’m going to be leaving my team, but I’m ready to start a new journey. I can’t wait to get back into the gym after the season and see what I can work on.”

After the Greenon game, someone captured a photo of Abbigail and her teammates celebrating moments after they had won the South Division championship — the program’s goal for the past three seasons. Abbigail Peterson’s goal was always to leave the program better than it was, Brandon Peterson said, and her smile in the photo was proof that she had accomplished it.

“I feel like she’s leaving a legacy at Catholic Central for others to want to follow into and that means more to me than anything else,” Brandon Peterson said.

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