GREELEY, Colo. — In the middle of the long hallway at Greeley Central High School there hangs a sign that simply says “Wildcat Way”. The orange and black sign over looks the dozens of team pictures that line the walls of the hallway. This long stretch of the school is known as the Hallway of Ghosts or for some the Hall of Champions.
“All of these photos you either have to be conference champs or you have to place at state to get a photo in this hallway,” Juliet Sheets, the Greeley Central Girls Basketball Coach said.
The basketball section of the hallway is pictures of all men teams, dating back generations, the last state title 1981, all men…except one.
“There’s one very lonely girl’s basketball photo and that’s from 1981,” Sheets said.
It was a great year for Central in 1981, the boys won a state championship and the girls were conference champions, the lone girl’s basketball picture in the Hallway of Ghosts for the Wildcats.
This year the Cats expect that to change. Led by senior Naomi Hidalgo, the Wildcats are on a roll. “She does what I try to be as a coach and that’s consistent, persistent and predictable,” Sheets told 9NEWS.
What nobody could’ve predicted is that this 18-year-old is about to break the school record for most points scored in a high school career.
“It’s never been about her, it’s always about the team," Sheets said. "So that’s really neat that she’s getting close to this record."
The school record is 1,262 points, held by a member of the boys 1981 state championship team and now University of Colorado head men’s basketball coach, Tad Boyle.
“Scoring records are great," Boyle said, "but the record that you really want and [that] is going to be with you and is going to be more fulfilling for you is to put another banner up in the rafters of Greeley Central High School.”
On this night Hidalgo needed 22 points to pass Boyle’s mark and in the fourth quarter she stood at the free throw line just needing two more. She drained the first to tie the scoring mark and with anticipation in the air Hidalgo nailed the second try to change history.
For Hidalgo and the rest of the Cats the record is great, but more important Greeley Central won the night bringing them one step closer to the Hall of Champions.
As Naomi stands in the long hallway she looks at the wall of pictures and said, “These are champions, I want to be a champion. I want to be remembered.”