Anne Wills turned 18 in a big way.
The Briarwood Academy Lady Buccaneer senior celebrated by becoming the all-time leading scorer in Lady Buccaneer basketball history. She scored her 1,609th career point in a game against Augusta Prep last week.
And she did it in style -- scoring the tying basket in regulation and the winning basket in overtime.
"I am glad it is now behind me," Wills said, "Going into last week's game with Augusta Prep, it was hard to not think about it. My main thought, however, was helping my team win and remain undefeated. Now that the record has been broken, everyone can settle down and concentrate on the season."
In the Augusta Prep contest, Wills bucketed two free throws with 13 seconds remaining in regulation play to send the game to overtime at a 39-39 deadlock. She then scored two free throws with three seconds remaining in overtime to win the game for Briarwood by one point.
Her 1,609th point eclipsed the two-year old record of 1,608 set by Laine Bradshaw, who later went on and played two years of college basketball with Oglethorpe University in Atlanta.
"My family was excited, and the whole team was excited," said Wills. "Now, we can set our sights on the rest of the season and getting to the region playoffs and state playoffs."
Wills entered last Friday night's game tied with Bradshaw with 1,608 points. With just over three minutes played in the contest, Wills bucketed a free throw shot that broke the record and forever placed her name and legacy into Briarwood basketball history.
"Laine and I were teammates for three years before she graduated," Wills said. "She was such a benefit to me during those years. Not only was she very competitive, she showed me how to be a better player on and off the court. ... She taught me so much about the game."
A night after breaking the record, Wills was congratulated by her opponents from Thomas Jefferson Academy.
"The girls in our region are very close, and I appreciate them for their words of encouragement," she said.
The road to the record began for Wills way back during the 2000-2001 year. As an eighth grader, she scored 165 points for the Lady Bucs. She then scored 420 points, 486 points and 453 points in consecutive seasons.
"When practice is over, and everyone else has gone home, Anne is still on the court shooting free throws and practicing her three-point shots," said Lady Buccaneer Head Coach Clayton Parrish. "She works endlessly at making her game better."
Coming into the 2004-2005 campaign, she had netted a total 1,524 points. She has already scored 120 points in six games of the current season to give her a total of 1,644 career points.
"This is a tremendous accomplishment for a young lady that is a thrill to work with," said Coach Parrish. "She is a special kind of player that has an amazing work ethic. I am very proud of her."
Wills hopes to play college ball in the very near future, but she knows that action in Division 1-A is out of the question.
"If I had to decide today, I would probably select Sewanee College in Tennessee to play the next level of basketball," Wills said. "I definitely want to play basketball in college, and I know and realize that I am not a Division 1-A player. My main goal is to get a good education, but I also would like to extend my basketball career."