When a high school student-athlete ends his or her basketball career with at least 1,000 points, it’s a strong indication just how successful that player was over a four-year stretch.
But when a player reaches that milestone in less than three seasons, it’s truly an incredible achievement, one that simply doesn’t happen very often. Even more impressive: That second season was cut to 17 games because of COVID-19.
Randleman High School’s Gracyn Hall reached the 1,000-point milestone in just 58 career games, getting the milestone point in a win over Wheatmore on Jan. 20. It’s an honor achieved because of hard work, dedication and playing on strong teams, teams which know how to get her the basketball in scoring situations.
Hall, who has turned heads early in her basketball career, is one who has lived up to high expectations.
“I’ve been watching her play since fifth grade and knew she would have an immediate impact as a freshman,” RHS girls varsity basketball coach Brandon Varner said. “Playing with Taylor (Gantt) going into her senior year was going to be beneficial.”
It didn’t take long for Gantt, who turned herself into one of the top point guards in the area, to work magic with Hall as the 5-11 freshman averaged 15.2 points and 7.4 rebounds her initial varsity campaign.
Preseason workouts were key, Hall said.
“Coming in as a freshman, we would have summer workouts and (Coach) Varner would tell me I would be a big part of the team,” Hall remembered. “There were adjustments from middle school to high school, but I played travel ball and I always played up and that helped a lot. That and the summer workouts.”
When Gantt graduated, sophomore Elizabeth York took over the point duties full time so there was no adjusting as Hall and York had been together for years.
In her COVID-shortened sophomore campaign, Hall averaged 20.2 points and 9.6 rebounds as the Tigers continued to thrive on the basketball court.
“Her basketball IQ is so good and she has a feel for the game,” Varner said. “She moves well and she has soft hands. She is light on her feet and she knows how to play to her strengths. She has a great touch and feel for the game.”
Now stronger and with more agility and knowledge for the varsity game, Hall continues to shine for the TIgers, who are unbeaten at 17-0 on the season. Even though she is double- and triple-teamed by opponents, who are well aware of her talents, Hall is still averaging 18.2 points and 11.8 rebounds a game.
“She’s a double-double machine,” Varner said. “Each year, we always ask how she is going to top her previous year. Her freshman year was so good, how are you going to come back your sophomore year? After her sophomore year, how is she going to be better her junior year?"
Hall said she never has individual goals.
“For me, I don't necessarily put individual goals before any team goals,” she said. “I know my spot on the team is to help us go out and win. My goal is to be better than we were last year.”
Varner said Hall’s teammates certainly deserve credit as well.
“Her teammates do a great job of finding her,” Varner said. “She finds a way to score even though every night teams know she's a focal point in taking her away.”
The daughter of two Randolph County all-star athletes in Haven Webster and Tyler Hall, it may be a bit surprising to know that Gracyn wasn’t enamored with the game at first.
“When I was little, I didn’t want to play basketball,” she said. “They put me out there. I always played softball.
“When I started playing basketball, I loved it.”
An instance where parents really do know best.
And now, she can’t get enough of basketball.
“To her, it’s not about her, it’s about our team being successful,” Varner said. “If she scores 10 points and we win, that’s what it is all about. All she is concerned with is getting our team into a position where we can be the best we can be.”
For both Hall and the Tigers, that’s pretty darned good.