DEPEW, N.Y. (WIVB) — When Kaylee Krysztof joined the Depew varsity basketball team in seventh grade, she gazed upon the list of all-time scoring leaders in the gym and had the “wild dream” of shooting her name to the top.
By the time Krysztof became one of the leading scorers in Western New York, she realized that goal would be reached in her senior season. When her last 3-point attempt as a junior bounced out of the rim, Krysztof wasn’t aware that would have been the record-setting basket.
“So I’m happy I missed it, in a way,” Krysztof said after becoming the Wildcats’ all-time leading scorer in Thursday’s opening game of her senior season, with her future college coach among those in attendance. “It’s a bigger celebration now.”
A Class B all-state first team selection last season, Krysztof will continue her career at Binghamton University, having chosen from seven Division I scholarship offers. She will team up with Amherst graduate Ella Wanzer, the America East Rookie of the Week, and trainer partner of Krysztof who played in the same AAU program, I-90 Elite.
Krysztof’s 3-pointer in the first quarter of a 71-53 win against Eden on Thursday night lifted her above Jen Feher, whose 1,858-point total stood as Depew’s all-time boys and girls basketball scoring record since 2000.
“It’s still kind of surreal that this is happening,” Krysztof said. “My whole family has gone here. My parents, my grandma, all their friends, everyone you see here. So knowing my name will forever be up on that wall feels great.”
Jen (Feher) Cohen, who had an All-American career playing for LeMoyne College, graciously accepted Depew athletics director Robert Skoczylas’ invitation to watch Krysztof break her record, traveling home from Albany to attend Thursday’s game.
“This is my first time being back in the school in 22 years,” she said. “I’m so impressed with the school spirit, and the support for athletics, Kaylee, and her family.”
In position to become the 16th girls player in WNY to score 2,000 career points, Krysztof finished the opening game with 16, raising her tally to 1,872. She had 508 points in 23 games last season (22.1 average), ranking among the top five locally and helping Depew win the Section VI Class B-1 title. A similar scoring output in her senior season could place Krysztof among the area’s top five all-time.
At 5-foot-8 with long arms and a high, quick release, it’s difficult to stop Krysztof from taking — and making — her shots. Eden coach Bill “Buckets” O’Hare said defending her was a professional-grade task for his team.
“I told my girls, she reminds me of an NBA player with her length and the way she shoots from anywhere,” O’Hare said. “We knew she was going to get the record tonight. We just wanted to try and drag it out and make the news cameras stay as long as possible. She’s a super nice kid, and although the game didn’t go in our favor, I’m happy for how it went for Kaylee tonight.”
Krysztof credited trainer Quintin Redfern for helping to develop her skills, and her father David for relentless encouragement and rebounding, many nights after midnight at the Depew Boys & Girls Club. She also praised the game of basketball for igniting her passion.
“I’ve played it my whole life,” she said. “My dad played when he was in high school. It’s always been there for me. It’s a release when I’m feeling down. It’s something I can always look forward to.”
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