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Senior Gregory is moving up the charts at Jeannette

| Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Ciara Gregory, a senior for the Lady Jays, has surpassed the scoring record for Jeannette girls basketball. Kristie Linden | The Jeannette Spirit

Ciara Gregory, a senior for the Lady Jays, has had an exciting final year as a member of the Jeannette girls basketball team.

Gregory has surpassed 2010 Jeannette graduate Kayla Cook's scoring record. Cook graduated with 1,777 points and Gregory currently has more than 1,800 points to her credit. Cook's record was broken during a Lady Jays' win over rival Greensburg Central Catholic.

“It was awesome to break the record. I knew I had a chance to break it, but I didn't know when,” said Gregory, who played with Cook when she was a freshman. “It was a pretty good feeling to know it will be history and it will stand until someone else breaks it. But it will stay history.”

Breaking any school record is a big deal, but to do it on GCC's court made it all the sweeter. The cheerleaders had a sign prepared in the event the record would be broken that night and the game was stopped so a brief celebration of Gregory's achievement could take place.

“It's better to have it (the record-breaking point) against Central, it's more special,” Gregory said, with a big smile.

Gregory began playing basketball as a second-grader in a YMCA program in Mt. Pleasant. She grew up watching her brothers, Richard and Sean, playing basketball and wanted to get involved. She enjoyed the sport right off the bat.

“It's such a fun, competitive sport,” she said.

Gregory used to play softball and soccer, but she began to focus entirely on basketball as a sixth-grader. “I was probably better at basketball,” Gregory said. “It's fun to be competitive and wanting to win.”

For the Lady Jays, Gregory is a point guard. When she joins the 49ers at the University of North Carolina Charlotte next year, she'll play at shooting guard. Both positions have their positives for Gregory.

“At point guard, I handle the ball more, but in college shooting guard will be a better fit for me.”

She played for the AAU Western Pennsylvania Bruins basketball leagues during summers, but this year she'll head to Charlotte in June. Once the Lady Jays' season ends, Gregory will turn her attention toward strength training so she can prepare to face bigger, stronger women at the college level. She hasn't decided on a major yet and she isn't leaning toward any particular career field. Gregory planned to visit campus again this past weekend. She's looking forward to living in another state and said, “I'll mature more being away from home. I'm looking forward to playing at the next level and getting the college experience.”

Her final high school season is going well, the team is in first place.

“It's going great so far. The team is playing well, we have a good record. As a team we're good, if we just keep working hard, we'll go far this year.”

LuAnn Mills, Jeannette head coach, has been a good influence on the team.

“We all love her. She makes basketball fun for us,” said Gregory, who feels the same way about the rest of her team. “We're all pretty close friends.”

Gregory is the daughter of Terry and Christy Gregory of Jeannette.

“I want to thank my parents, my grandma Mary Lou Markitell and my brothers for always supporting me.”

Kristie Linden is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at klinden@tribweb.com or 724-838-5154.

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