During the opening week of the basketball season in late November, two senior members of the Swarthmore basketball programs added further distinction to their already storied careers.
On Sunday, Nov. 18, Katie Lytle '14 of the women's basketball team became the ninth student-athlete in its program history to record 1,000 career points. Less than a week later, Jay Kober '14 of the men's team scored his 1,000th career point in a victory over Gettysburg, becoming the 19th men's basketball player to reach the milestone.
An economics and mathematics double major from Harrisburg, Pa., Lytle reached the feat in the championship game of the 2013 Swarthmore Tip-off Tournament, which the Garnet won 58-55 over Connecticut College. Lytle entered the championship game needing 18 points to reach the milestone. The Garnet fans in attendance were prepared, counting to themselves every time she scored a basket, hiding "1,000" signs beneath their seats. Lytle knew that she was close to the mark going into the game. "I felt a little nervous at the beginning," she says, "but I just tried not to think about it and just play. "
Lytle surpassed the 1,000-point milestone by netting a three-point field goal with 13:03 to play in the second half. Immediately, the crowd and bench erupted with cheers and waving signs. Lytle smiled briefly before humbly sprinting back to help the Garnet on defense. She finished the game with 29 points, 14 rebounds, and five steals, and for her efforts, was named the tournament MVP.
A D3Hoop.com preseason All-American, Lytle attributes her success to those around her. "I feel truly honored and humbled to join such a talented group of Swarthmore basketball players," she says. "To me, scoring 1,000 points is a celebration of my career and the people who have supported me."
Through six games this season, Lytle leads the team in scoring (17.2 per game), rebounding (12.7 per game), field goal percentage (48.1), and steals (3.0 per game) as the Garnet is off to a 3-3 start. Lytle is coming off an outstanding 2012-13 season, having led the women's basketball team to its best campaign in over a decade, which culminated in a 23-7 record and an ECAC championship. She received numerous honors in 2012-13, including Centennial Conference Player of the Year, 2013 D3Hoops.com Mid Atlantic First Team, 2013 ECAC South Region All-Star First Team, and ECAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player.
Just one weekend after Lytle's accomplishment, Kober gave Garnet fans another reason to celebrate, netting his 1,000th career point at home against Gettysburg. Kober, a native of North Huntington, Pa., entered the game with 999 points. Fans did not have to wait long for Kober to reach the milestone. Just under five minutes into the game, he made a hard move to the basket, laying the ball against the glass for two points. Fans with signs erupted into cheers as Kober grinned and continued down the court to get back on defense. He admits feeling a sense of relief, saying, "even though it was much more important to win the game, it was obviously a lingering thought in the back of my mind." Having eclipsed the 1,000-point milestone, Kober led the Garnet to a 69-65 win over Gettysburg College in the Centennial Conference season opener. He finished with 19 points, seven rebounds, and two assists.
Kober, a history and mathematics major, says that his young team's potential is unlimited and that its win over Gettysburg was huge for team confidence. With the help of Kober, the Garnet men's team is off to a promising three-win start to the season, which includes important conference victories over Gettysburg and Ursinus.
Kober was an impact player from the beginning of his Swarthmore career, playing in 49 games (34 starts) and averaging 11.4 ppg during his freshman and sophomore seasons. He took a major step forward as a junior, leading the Garnet in scoring with 16.2 ppg, shooting 47 percent from the field and 37 percent from the 3-point line. Kober, who's career was profiled by the Norwin Star in the preseason, also named to the Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area Team and the 2013 Capital One CoSIDA Academic All-District IV Team last season.
Like Lytle, Kober names his team and coaches when talking about his newest accomplishment. "I was excited to reach the milestone, but it really is a team achievement in every sense," he says. "I was lucky to get a lot of great passes, screens, and bounces along the way." Kober also commented on the coincidental timing regarding women's standout Lytle. "She's a great player who I look up to a lot," he says. "We have both played significant roles on our teams since our freshmen years and it was nice for both of us to reach this milestone together."