If you attended a Weston-McEwen girls basketball game over the past four years, chances are you got used to hearing one name in particular:
More often than not, the 5-foot-6 senior guard led the TigerScots in scoring on any given night. This year alone, she averaged 18 points a game.
And those points have added up to something special. Vescio surpassed the 1,000-point mark to end her career on the high school court — 1,003 to be exact.
“It just kind of happened,” Vescio, 18, said of her milestone. “I never set out saying, ‘I need to get 1,000 points.’ I just knew that I needed to be the best that I could be for my team. It was a big surprise.”
Vescio first picked up a basketball when she was 5 years old, and hasn’t let it go ever since. Her earliest memories are of peewee league in Pendleton, and enrolling in various basketball camps.
“I just love how the game works,” she said. “I like plotting out defensive strategies. I love the fast pace. I love how the game can be decided by a single call.”
Vescio made the TigerScots varsity team as a freshman, but things really got going for her during her second year. She increased her freshman point count from 20 to 199. That same year, her team made it into the final eight at the 2A state championships. Vescio was also named to the Blue Mountain Conference’s 2nd All-League team.
“Every year, I always try to find something to be proud of,” she said. “And I always remind myself of why I play basketball to begin with. I need to be reinspired.”
Her stats show that inspiration comes rather easily. She poured in 368 points as a junior, and made it onto the 1st All-League team. For her final year, she was promoted to team captain, landed another spot on the 1st All-League team, and sank 416 points to cross the 1,000-point barrier.
“I could tell she loves to play and is really happy when she’s on the court,” said TigerScots head coach Mike Giusti. “She is in tremendously good condition, and plays hard almost every minute of the game. She’s really active, and quick defensively. She’s the fastest player we have.”
From the court to the track
Vescio’s speed has led her to prosper in more than just basketball; she’s a decorated track and field athlete, as well.
“I’ve known Katie since she was in junior high,” said Weston-McEwen track coach Loran Monaco. “I knew she had a lot of potential.”
Vescio tried her hand at a number of events before settling on the ones that best suited her.
“I took her out of the long jump,” Monaco recalled. “It wasn’t the right fit. She would tweak her ankle. I thought, ‘Let’s get her going in a different direction.’”
The right direction, as it turns out, would be the 800 meter run.
At last year’s state championship meet at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field, she placed third in the 4x400 meter relay, second in pole vaulting, and took home the title in the 800 meter run, finishing at 2:25.16.
“She’s matured mentally since her freshman year,” Monaco said of Vescio’s athletic success. “She started believing two things: 1. That what I tell her isn’t just a pep talk, and that there’s some facts to it, and 2. In herself. When you believe in yourself, that’s when you stand on that top stair.”
Even if the Weston-McEwen girls didn’t boast the strongest basketball record this season (5-18, 0-12 BMC), Vescio said it isn’t all about the numbers. For her final year as a high school athlete, she just wants to leave an impact on her team.
“I want to work hard every day and do the best that I can,” she said. “Obviously, our basketball team didn’t win a lot, but I just wanted to have fun. And the team was always there for me, and could always make me smile.”
A different court
Despite her athletic accomplishments, Vescio has her sights set on an entirely different field after graduation. She’s already been accepted to Washington State University, where she plans toearn a degree in criminal justice and land a position at the FBI.
“It’s always something I’ve been interested in,” she said. “Honestly, it came from watching a lot of TV — ‘Criminal Minds,’ ‘Psych,’ and ‘48 Hours.’ I’ll probably join an intramural basketball team (in Pullman), but it’ll just be for fun.”