Ervin Stepp appreciates Whitney Creech’s scoring prowess
Ervin Stepp is ready to welcome Whitney Creech into his exclusive club.
Stepp is the only player in the history of Kentucky high school basketball to average more than 50 points a game for an entire season. Thirty-six years ago as a senior at Phelps, Stepp averaged 53.7 points. (And that was before the three-point shot was introduced.)
He topped 60 points six times that season, including 75 against Feds Creek. “I had 50 in the second half of that game,” Stepp said. “Man, if I’d only done that the first half too, I would’ve had 100!”
Now along comes Creech, a senior at Jenkins, who is sporting a 50.6 average, highlighted by a career-high 65 against Jackson County.
Stepp didn’t know about Creech until last month when his brother Gary, athletics director at Alice Lloyd College, told him about her scoring prowess.
“I thought somebody might have a shot at breaking my (scoring average) record someday, but I thought they’d do it because of the three-pointer,” Stepp said. “What really surprised me when I heard about (Creech) was that she doesn’t shoot many threes. She’s scoring a whole lot of points the old-fashioned way.”
Stepp wishes he had had the three-pointer in his high school days. He and his brother Joe, who coached him at Phelps, have looked at old game film and noted that Ervin hit what would’ve been six or seven threes a game.
“If we’d had the three-point line back then, I feel very confident I could’ve averaged at least 10 threes a game,” Ervin said. “That’s not being arrogant or cocky. It was just a regular shot for me, and I would’ve averaged over 60 points.”
Stepp said he never felt pressure to score a lot, even though he knew fans always expected him to put up a big number. “What happened happened. I was in such a zone, and had a mind-set that nobody was going to stop me. Teams tried some crazy stuff but I just let the ball do the talking.”
Creech, who is closing in on Jaime Walz’s state scoring record of 4,948 points, uses people’s expectations as motivation. “I play my hardest because people might just get to see me play that one time they’re there,” she said.
Being a big scorer is nothing new for Creech. She averaged averaged 21.3 points as an eighth-grader, 30.2 as a freshman, 34.4 as a sophomore, and a nation-leading 42.0 as a junior.
“She’s an amazing young lady,” Jenkins Coach Ashley Addington said. “No way a kid 16, 17 or 18 years old should have that much pressure on her. If she doesn’t score 50, it’s hard for us to win. But she takes it on like a champ.”
Creech, who has signed with Western Kentucky, looks forward to playing on the college level and not being hounded by multiple defenders.
“It’ll be very nice not seeing two people on me any more,” she said with a laugh.
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