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Lutes breaks NLA's all-time scoring record in home win

New Life Academy girls basketball forward Cara Lutes (left) and assistant coach Jenny Ramey share a hug after Lutes broke Ramey's team career scoring record on Friday night at NLA. Staff Photo by Tom Carothers.1 / 2
Rebekah Schmidt, pictured here with coach Paul Mork, cracked the 1,000-point mark on Friday night at NLA. Staff Photo by Tom Carothers.2 / 2

New Life Academy girls basketball forward Cara Lutes snapped former teammate Jenny Ramey's team career scoring record of 1,518 points on Friday night as the junior recorded 17 points as the Eagles blew out visiting Meadow Creek Christian, 40-17, on the Curt Wetsel Court at NLA.

"It's a nice accomplishment," said a humble Lutes, who has verbally committed to play collegiately at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. "It's nice, but not huge -- it's not like I did it all by myself, you need teammates to pass you the ball."

Lutes' current teammate and co-captain, Rebekah Schmidt also hit a career milestone as the senior guard accumulated her 1,000th career point early in the contest that nearly became a historical game itself as the Eagles came within 49 seconds of shutting out their visitors in the first half before Meadow Creek mustered four points before the horn.

"It feels good," Schmidt said. "It was really fun."

The senior didn't mind sharing her accomplishment with her teammate of four years, either.

"Not at all," she said. "It made it more exciting -- I was so glad to be able to share with her."

Both Lutes' and Schmidt's personal achievements came on free throws as Schmidt hit 1,000 on an attempt from the charity stripe just over six minutes into the contest and Lutes hit her "and one" after being fouled on a basket in the lane one minute, 11 seconds into the second half.

The game was briefly halted after Lutes' free throw to honor her new scoring record, but the junior eschewed all attempt at ceremony other than a quick group hug from her teammates and coach Paul Mork.

After the 23-point Eagles' win -- in a game that New Life led by as much as 32 points -- Lutes focused more on her team's ever-improving play more than her own laurels. The victory was New Life's fourth in a row and improved the club's record to 10-9 on the season, whereas the squad began 2010 at 3-6.

"I'm more excited at how we played," Lutes said. "This team is taking leaps and bounds -- we kept attacking tonight, kept working hard."

The team's leading scorer joked that she thought Ramey, who finished up her career last March holding the top spot on the NLA scoring list and now is an assistant coach, might move to bench her to preserve the graduate's top spot.

Ramey laughed at the notion, pointing out that with more than a season left in her high school time, the record was bound to be Lutes' sooner or later.

"It's not too heartbreaking," Ramey said. "I kind of knew when I broke it that Cara was going to break whatever I ended up with.

"She is very deserving of this honor and I'm just glad that I got to play on the same team as her."

The Eagles face a stern test next as they look to increase their winning streak to five games. New Life travels to face St. Croix Lutheran -- ranked fourth in Class AA -- next Tuesday night. The Crusaders will enter that game coming off their first setback of the season, occurring Friday night at DeLaSalle, ranked No. 1 in Class AAA.

There are four head-to-head games remaining in New Life's regular season, as well as the Minnesota Christian Athletic Association Tournament, slated to begin on Tuesday, Feb. 16.