Samantha Schultz shifts gears quickly, both on the basketball court and between her fall and winter sports seasons.
The Kings Park senior, who starred in both volleyball and basketball, broke the girls basketball program scoring record during a 36-point outing on Jan. 25 at home against Sayville.
Jen DiChiara set the previous record of 1,515 in 2004. Schultz now has 1,599 points after games against Westhampton and Rocky Point.
“I was just so excited, kind of star-struck a little bit,” said Schultz, a 5-10 guard who will play at NJIT. “I’ve been playing for Kings Park since eighth grade, and it was always just a thought in the back of my head.”
A three-year varsity contributor for the volleyball team that has made seven consecutive trips to the state Class A final four, Schultz is usually limited — or absent entirely — from the first few basketball practices of the year.
Volleyball’s state championship tournament takes place the weekend after the first Monday of the winter sports season, forcing Schultz to split time between both sports for a week.
But she’s never missed a beat.
Schultz is averaging 26.5 points per game — second in Suffolk — with eight games of at least 30 points. NJIT coach Steve Lanpher cited her “basketball IQ” and “feel for the game” when she officially signed with the school in December.
“She’s our engine,” Kings Park coach Tom Edmundson said. “If you look at her biggest games in terms of points scored, those were the biggest games we needed her to do that.”
Schultz excels slashing to the basket, but she’s added a midrange step-back this season and can stretch beyond the arc. The release on her jumper is unique because the ball rotates sideways, but Edmundson has never wanted to change it.
“I’m a big believer in ‘don’t fix what ain’t broken.’ She’s got great touch,” he said. “It’s a slightly different release than what you might see traditionally, but it works.”
Schultz can dominate games, making Kings Park a threat to Mount Sinai, the defending Suffolk A champion. The Kingsmen have won 13 straight games and are 17-2 this season.
Schultz, who has been on three county championship volleyball teams, is hoping to help Kings Park get one in basketball, too.
“I’ve won them in volleyball, and it would mean the world to me to win one in basketball,” she said.
Between AAU and open gym workouts, Schultz always found time to stay in basketball shape. That’s partially why Edmundson never worried about her start to each season. After all, he knew she was a star.
“At this point, I’ve gotten used to it,” he said. “They were trying to go upstate and win something special, a state title.”
He’s hoping Schultz can be a catalyst for a run at a girls basketball state title, too.