POWELL, Ohio (WCMH) — Senior night is always special, a night when those graduating athletes want to take it all in and leave a lasting legacy.
For Olentangy Liberty senior Caitlin Splain, that legacy goes beyond the Patriots program. Her name is now in the Ohio high school girls basketball history books, as she now has the record for most three-pointers made in a game.
“I just knew that there was gonna be an opportunity and a big moment and I wanted to take advantage of it,” she said, reflecting back to senior night on Monday. “One of the bigger goals this season was to beat the school record, so I think I was going for that and once I hit that, I just lost track.”
Everyone else was counting.
Caitlin hit 14 three-pointers that night, a state record in girls basketball, and scored 45 points as Liberty beat Olentangy Orange 69-43.
“It’s just like every time I look at the hoop and I let the ball go, it just seems like it’s going in. It’s a feeling I get right as soon as I let the ball go,” Caitlin said. “The shooting comes when you’re that focused and that in the zone.”
“She looked at me after half her shots and just started smiling, and I was doing the same,” said Liberty coach Tom Waterwash.
This is his first year at the helm of the Patriots girls program, but he has coached Caitlin as she made her way up through the ranks, from freshman team to now varsity.
Waterwash said it was special watching Caitlin’s journey to now state record-holder, but her success isn’t surprising.
“She’s got the mindset of a shooter,” he said. “They talk about it a lot and it’s a thing and she’s got it. She doesn’t let one or two misses stop her and…”
“You can’t teach that,” I added as we chatted during practice.
“No! You just gotta do it, gotta have it, and she does,” he replied.
That mindset has been talked about with regards to many big-time three-point threats — most notably the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry, who at one time held the NBA’s record for most threes in a game.
And he holds a special place in Caitlin’s hoops heart.
“Steph Curry has hit 13 in a game,” I said to her, “but not 14.”
“Steph Curry is actually my idol,” she said with a smile after taking a deep breath. “So it was pretty cool that I did beat him.”
Curry is a dynamic player who has changed the NBA. But also, that has trickled down to how youngsters want to play and find success in a new era of basketball.
“There’s such a joy when you watch him play, and I think the kids feel that,” Waterwash said. “They want to play the game and have fun doing it and doing it the right way.”
Klay Thompson, Curry’s Golden State teammate and “splash brother,” as the pair is called, holds the NBA record with 14 made threes in a game — the same number Caitlin hit on senior night. So now, the Liberty senior simply has another goal to shoot for.
“I’m coming for that record!” she said with a laugh.