The Saratoga Sun -

Bennetts break the books

Sisters Taylor and Whitney contribute to record breaking win of 82 points in a single game

 

February 19, 2020

Joshua Wood

Taylor Bennett, left, and Whitney Bennett scored a combined 50 points towards the total 82 points that broke the previous school record of most points scored in a single game.

In the multipurpose room of Saratoga Middle High School, names and records adorn the walls as they tell the story of achievements by student athletes through the years. Some of these records seem to stand the test of time as decades pass before they're broken. Other records are shattered on an annual basis, and sometimes by the same people who set them the year before. 

On the night of February 4, the Saratoga Lady Panthers broke one of those long standing records as they hosted the North Park Lady Wildcats. While it was a team effort, the Panther's share of the points came from two sisters; Taylor and Whitney Bennett.

For the last 16 years, the record of most points in a single game had been set by the 2004 Lady Panthers when they scored 79 points against the Burns Lady Broncs. While playing against North Park, the 2019/2020 Lady Panthers would break that record by 3 points.

While breaking that record was most certainly a team effort, 60 percent of those points were made by the Bennett sisters as each of them scored 25 for a total of 50 points.

"I guess it was just a really fun game. We were all having fun, just playing together. It was just a lot of fun," said Taylor.

"It was really good. We just have a really good team. It was all a team effort, we just happened to be shooting good that day. We couldn't have done it without our teammates," said Whitney.

While the Lady Panthers had a high scoring night against North Park, a total of 82 points, they actually didn't realize they had set a new school record until the following night.

"I wasn't even thinking about it so it surprised me," Taylor said.

Though they weren't aware that they had broken the school record right away, they were aware of how many points they were contributing thanks to the big board on the east end of the gymnasium. According to Taylor, she and younger sister Whitney were keeping an eye on the big board throughout the game.

"With the big board up, you can see your points, so we were kind of going back and forth who had more and I was up and then she knew that and she had to score that last layup at the end," said Taylor.

"I didn't know, really, how many (points) they (scored) because I don't look at it too much. I knew they had both scored a lot but I didn't realize it was that much," said Heather Bartlett, head coach of the Lady Panthers.

According to Bartlett, in the last 10 seconds of the game she called out to the team not to make any more shots. Whitney, however, grabbed the ball and made a final layup to put Saratoga at the 82 points as the buzzer sounded.

"As we were walking into the locker room after the game I said 'Whit, how come you made that last layup?' Taylor was right in front of us and she put her arm around Taylor and goes 'Taylor outscored me in the Baggs game and I couldn't have her outscore me this game, too, so I had to go make the last layup," Bartlett said.

Both sisters admit that they click on the court and one of the biggest reasons they do so is because they are in some friendly competition with each other. 

"Call it their little sister thing. They just know where the other one's going to be and when they're open and what they're doing. You hear about twins but I'd say for sure, with these two at least, it's carried through for the siblings," said Bartlett.

Though the Bennett sisters were the high scorers during this game, that title can often switch from player-to-player depending on who the Lady Panthers are playing. This is something that the sisters are humble out, quickly putting praise on the team instead of themselves.

"That just ended up being a really good night for both of them. I don't think, in any way, they were trying to outdo their teammates because that's not the way they are. It was just a really special night where the two sisters ended up scoring a lot of points," Bartlett said. "They've always both been about the team win."

Joshua Wood

Taylor Bennett goes in for a layup during practice.

For Bartlett, it is a treat to watch two siblings on the same team play. It is something she has been able to experience as a parent, watching her older sons, Gage and Gavin, play on the court together as well as watching her younger twin sons, Grant and Grady, compete.

"As a parent, it's been one of the funnest things because siblings don't usually get to play together that much. These are the only sisters, really, that I've coached that have played together," said Bartlett.

The time of sharing the court for the Bennett sisters is nearing an end. While Whitney is a freshman at Saratoga Middle High School, Taylor is a senior and will graduate this year. The younger Bennett admits that she's not sure what's going to happen when she won't have her sister to play with in the following seasons.

For the time being, however, they have the shared experience of working together to break a school record that lasted for nearly two decades.

 

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