Strom Thurmond junior guard an offensive machine

Courtney Mealing's junior season of basketball will be remembered in Edgefield County as one of the greatest offensive explosions in the long history of Strom Thurmond High.


It was a season in which Mealing scorched the nets, leading the Augusta area in scoring at 29 points per game while setting a new single-game school scoring mark with 48 points against Swansea.

A varsity starter since the seventh grade, Mealing also averaged nine rebounds, nearly three assists and two steals per outing while shooting 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from the 3-point line.

Mealing shot 73 percent from the foul line.

She had three 40-point games, double-digit 30-point outings and scored 725 points.

Each point she scores next season will only extend a career school scoring record (1,836 points and counting) she already owns.

She now caps that run as The Augusta Chronicle South Carolina All-Area Player of the Year.

Only one question remains.

What can she possibly do for an encore?

"I'm coming back to try to help make my teammates better and just do the same thing over," Mealing said. "I want to work on using my left hand more, finishing when I drive to basket, playing better defense and improving my percentage at the free throw line."

A Mealing who is adept at either hand, and with better defensive skills?

The Class AA opposition (Strom Thurmond drops into that classification next season following a lengthy stay in Class AAA) who will have to guard her can't be happy that the scoring phenom is on her way.

Mealing's coach, Jessica Parker, has no doubts that it can happen. She's already seen enough that defies description.

"She did some great things this year," Parker said. "She was a great leader out on the floor. She wants to win and will do whatever she needs to do. When we went to Swansea (the night Mealing set the new single-game high with 48 points) I thought to myself 'she's hitting everything she's putting up.' But every time there was a clutch play she did whatever it took, either going to the free throw line or going to the basket."

Statistics aside, however, if there is one area where Mealing would like to see the most improvement, it's in her team's record. The Lady Rebels finished at just 13-12 this season and were quickly eliminated by Lake Marion in the first round of the Class AAA state playoffs.

Mealing did her best, scoring 42 of her team's total 43 points, but it wasn't enough.

And despite having started on the varsity since the seventh grade, Mealing has only tasted the second round of the playoffs.

It's something she desperately wants to change. Given the option between averaging 50 points per game next season or her team advancing deep into the playoffs, her answer is a no-brainer.

"I'd definitely rather go to the championship," she said. "There's no question."

But after dropping into the Class AA ranks, the potential that both things may in fact take place suddenly becomes a distinct and realistic possibility, especially given Mealing's level of expectation.



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