Large posters of Cece Hooks hung on the second level of The Convo Saturday afternoon. They showcased five seasons worth of Hooks shooting, passing or grinning in an Ohio uniform, and they all led up to the moment she became Ohio’s new all-time leading scorer on Jan. 15.
Bobcat legend Caroline Mast Daugherty handed her successor a commemorative ball as fans cheered. No one cheered louder than Hooks’ teammates, though. They had pure joy on their faces as they held cutouts of her roster photos from over the years. It was a celebration they had waited patiently for.
Now, the Bobcats have something new to celebrate.
With 1:44 to go in the third quarter, Hooks scored her 19th point of the game, and officially became the new Mid-American Conference all-time leading scorer.
“I didn’t even know I had 19 (points) when it happened,” Hooks said. “I didn’t even know that I had did it.”
Ohio’s bench immediately ran to greet Hooks, who was jogging back to the other basket. The same excitement as earlier stretched across their faces as the same look came across hers. There was nothing but love radiating in The Convo.
The defending MAC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year rewrites history every time she steps on the court. Before she became Ohio’s leading scorer, she already held the program record for most career steals and field goals made. Hooks also holds the single-game scoring record, a distinction she earned in a game in which she fouled out during the fourth quarter.
Hooks is a cornerstone of Ohio’s team. She knows how to find the basket, but she is also willing to give up the ball for an open teammate. Hooks is a selfless player both on and off of the court. She wants what is best for her team, no matter the situation
“She makes you feel like such a great teammate no matter what you’re doing, what your role is,” Kaylee Bambule said. “She just makes me a better person (and) player.”
Ohio coach Bob Boldon wasn’t sure that Hooks would break Ohio’s record when she first mentioned it to him — let alone the conference record. Ohio’s previous career scoring record of 2,449 points is a daunting number in and of itself. It would be a great feat for any athlete to even come close to it.
Hooks not only came close to it, she shattered midway through her final season. She hasn’t scored less than 19 points in a game this season and shows no signs of slowing down.
Hooks continued to boost Ohio’s record on Saturday. She ended Ohio’s rout of Bowling Green with 27 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. She almost notched triple double in the biggest game of her career. Totals like these are routine for Hooks but would be absurd for other players to achieve. She’s got a swagger on the court that cannot be replicated.
“It’s hard to quantify what she’s done here and really, truly understand what that means,” Boldon said.
Hooks has taken the MAC by storm, and she’s still got time to get what she’s always been after — a MAC Championship. But for now, she’s got two new accolades to celebrate and a lot of love being thrown her way.
She’s etched her name into both Ohio and MAC history, and she still has plenty of time left.