Athlete of the Week: Piper Francis, MV-BT/Liberty

Any high school basketball player would love to score 1,000 points in their career.

But Piper Francis isn’t just any high school basketball player.

“When my dad and I would go to games, we’d always see people getting 1,000 points and we always try to set the goal a little bit higher,” said Francis.

By a little bit higher, Francis means twice as high.

On Tuesday night, the Mountain View Birch Tree Liberty senior became the first Eagle to reach the 2,000 point scoring mark.

“2,000 points don’t come by accident, a lot of time put in the gym, not just when the lights are on and the fans are in the stands,” said Eagles Head Coach Eli Ernst.

Ernst says that work ethic is what sets Francis apart from other talented players.

“The reward of it is to have the career she’s having, and everybody would want that but to get in and actually put the sweat on the wood is a different story,” said Ernst.

Thanks to that, Francis will head to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville; once again making her a Liberty trail blazer.

“Piper will be the first female athlete in the girls basketball program to play D1,” Ernst said.

It’s another accomplishment Francis started working toward years ago.

“I always dreamed about that as a little girl, and my dad and I always talked about that and to finally find the place that fits is awesome,” Francis said.

As Francis continues her final season as an Eagle, she’s helping to prepare the stars of the future by working with middle school players.

“To see them ask questions about my games and I can talk to them about their games to see what they need to work on is really awesome,” Francis said.

And who knows, maybe one of those young players will be the next Liberty Eagle to score 2,000 points.

“We hope someday, somebody gets close,” Ernst said. “That would be a testament to the program, but Piper is a way’s ahead.”

By year’s end, there’s no telling just how far ahead she’ll actually be.

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