Emmanuel forward Breanna Locke’s last basket in a January 16 win over Converse earlier this year was a relatively typical play for the Flowery Branch graduate, now a senior for the Lions.
With about three minutes left in the game, Locke received a pass on the wing, drove the ball down the baseline and put in a reverse layup that gave her 13 points on the game. Now in her third year with the Lions, Locke — who played at Lenoir Rhyne University as a freshman — has gotten used to scoring for Emmanuel, averaging about 20 points a game over the last two seasons.
But that final layup against Converse was special.
With it, Locke eclipsed 1,000 points for the Lions, a goal that she said has been on her mind since the beginning of the season.
“It was really exciting,” she said of the moment. “It was kind of different than I expected it to be. I don’t know if in my head that I was expecting it to be like some incredible moment, but it was just really nice. All my teammates stood up and cheered for me.”
Locke said she’s had her eye on 1,000 points since missing out on it in her high school days with the Falcons.
An injury riddled senior campaign caused her to barely miss the mark at Flowery Branch, so hitting it at the college level became something new to work toward.
“That was something I definitely wanted to do then that I wasn’t able to achieve (in high school),” Locke said. “I know in college not everybody has the opportunity. So it was just really nice just to know that kind of all the hard work that I’d put in to get to that point really paid off.”
It also didn’t hurt that she received a little bit of extra motivation to reach the milestone this year.
Earlier this high school season, Locke’s little sister Ashlee hit her 1,000th point for Flowery Branch, and the elder Locke is not one to shy away from a little friendly competition.
“When she (Ashlee Locke) got that, I was like alright, you’ve definitely got to get it this year,” Breanna Locke said.
In two years and some change, Locke has carved out a huge role at Emmanuel. Through eight games this year, she leads the Lions in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks, as well as 3-point and free throw makes. But her path to Franklin Springs was not the straightest.
Locke chose Lenoir Rhyne immediately out of college, but off the court issues brought her back home to Georgia after less than two years.
“After about a year and a half, I realized that I wanted to get back closer to home,” she said. “Ashlee was going to be in high school. I wanted to be able to be closer to her. I really just wanted somewhere that was close to home that had small class sizes, that really kind of had a hometown feeling.”
After talking some with Emmanuel coach Mike Bona, Locke realized Emmanuel offered everything she was looking for, so she made the switch. The move has paid off for Locke, and for the Lions.
Emmanuel went over 20 wins in the first two years she was with the team, making it to the NCAA Division II tournament for the very first time in her first season with the squad before losing to North Georgia in the first round. This year, the Lions are 6-2 as of Tuesday, the best 8-game start to the season they’ve had since Locke transferred.
And now that she’s hit her 1,000th point, Locke’s entire focus is on helping to take Emmanuel to brand new heights never reached by the school before.
“Our goal is definitely a conference championship, and just to make it further in the NCAA tournament,” she said. “We want to make it as far as possible.”