Caroline Stewart doesn't need stats to back up her dominance on a basketball court. But the Masconomet senior center keeps on reaching career milestones just the same.
Already a member of the 1,000-point club, Stewart was inducted into an even more elite club last week when she grabbed the 1,000th rebound of her storied career.
If 1,000 points are the benchmark for high school greatness, then 1,000 boards provide an automatic pass into legendary status.
Consider this: for a high school basketball player to reach the number 1,000 in any category, it takes an average of 12.5 per game for 80 career games (the standard 20-game season over four years of high school).
Truthfully, Stewart is already beyond 80 games. She played her freshman season at Pingree — which plays a longer regular season schedule than typical North Shore high school teams — and has a been a regular in the postseason with the Chieftains.
Regardless, it still means Stewart has averaged a double-double for her career.
"Scoring 1,000 points is normally a result of how many shots you take," Masco coach Bob Romeo said, "but to get to 1,000 rebounds is pretty significant."
Players who want to score can simply keep shooting. It's not quite that easy, naturally, but rebounding is different. It takes constant effort, determination and the ability to play a physical game.
For every rebound Stewart has grabbed over the last four years, she probably has a bruise received or a bruise given to match her carom total.
This season Stewart, who is averaging over 17 points per game, is checking in with 12.3 rebounds a contest.
Last week Stewart had three straight double-doubles — 20 points and 14 rebounds against Amesbury, 11 and 14 against Georgetown, and 17 and 12 against Central Catholic. Not coincidentally, all three games were Masco wins.
"That's just a kid who's committed to doing all the work on the defensive end," Romeo said of Stewart. "A shot goes up, and the most important thing is to get the basketball. She's very strong, she knows how to get position, and she has very good hands. Once she has it, no one is going to take it away."
Bishop Fenwick coach Tim Harrington has kept his eye on Masconomet, knowing his team has a good chance of seeing the Chieftains in the final of the North Shore Invitational a week from Monday.
Harrington was amazed to hear Stewart had reached 1,000 rebounds — but at the same time, not surprised.
"It's pretty unbelievable. But knowing her career, she's a really hard worker," Harrington said. "Points are fun, but someone who works as hard as that says a lot about their work ethic and team attitude."
Playing with a small lineup, as Harrington is forced to do with the Crusaders, only reminds him of how much hard work it takes to rebound. Arguing that rebounds are more important than points is an easy debate.
"It's invaluable. If you can't control the boards in your own end, you're at a tremendous disadvantage," Harrington said. "You can play good, solid defense and force a bad shot and be assured a rebound (with someone like Stewart). That helps the team attitude.
"On the other hand, if you play good defense and give up an offensive board, it can be demoralizing."
Fenwick would love to have its state tournament berth locked up before the North Shore Invitational next weekend, but the focus for Harrington and the Crusaders is simply to get one win at a time.
The Crusaders play St. Mary's of Lynn tonight, then Catholic Central League power Cardinal Spellman and Tewksbury next week before opening the North Shore tourney with Beverly High on Saturday (2 p.m.).
Fenwick defeated both St. Mary's and Tewksbury the first time around, but if Harrington's team doesn't come to play, it could lose both contests this time.
Beverly, which only has four wins, seems like a favorable matchup for Fenwick in the first round of the NSHI, but Harrington knows better.
"I think Beverly is a dangerous team," Harrington said. "If you look at their record and take them easy, they'll beat you."
Swampscott couldn't have made a bigger statement with its 61-49 win over powerful Winthrop on the road Wednesday night.
All the talk surrounding these two teams after the Big Blue defeated them early in the year was that the Vikings would get revenge in their own gym. Allie Beaulieu made sure that didn't happen by dropping a career-high 30 points on Winthrop. The Swampscott star hit four 3-pointers and grabbed 10 boards.
Tara Nimkar provided the support with 18 points and 10 rebounds for 15-1 Swampscott.
Apparently missing Katarina Mallios in the first meeting wasn't the deal-breaker for Winthrop. Mallios played this past Wednesday and scored 13 points.
Bounce Passes, a column on North Shore girls' basketball, runs every Friday during the winter sports season in The Salem News. Contact staff writer Matt Jenkins at 978-338-2648 or by e-mail at email@example.com.