STONEHAM — With 2:17 left in the second quarter of Saturday's road game at Stoneham, Wilmington High School senior Kylie DuCharme made history when she became the first female in the history of the basketball program to reach 1,000 rebounds in her career.
With 37 seconds left in the third quarter of the same ballgame, she made history again. Her end-to-end runner, gave her 1,000 points in her career.
She became the second female in the history of the program to achieve this incredible milestone, following Ashley Vitale in 2007. And DuCharme becomes the sixth player in WHS history to do it joining Winston Fairfield (Class of 1959), Mike Lombard (1988), Eric Swiezynski (2001) and Connor Bennett (2015).
The fact that DuCharme reached both milestones is one thing, but to accomplish both in the same game is really mind-blowing.
“We are absolutely thrilled for her,” said head coach Jessica Robinson. “It's an incredible accomplishment. She's the first to have one-thousand (rebounds) and one thousand (points) in Wilmington High history and that's accolades that even the best, best don't reach. It's absolutely a tremendous accomplishment.”
Wilmington High girls' basketball started in the 1930s, but it wasn't until the early 1970s when the game went to 5-on-5. From that point on, now fifty years later with hundreds and thousands of players suiting up for the 'Cats, playing for a number of different coaches, only two have reached four digits in points and one in four digits in rebounds.
“It's just exciting,” DuCharme said minutes after the win over Stoneham. “To be here (and do this) with my parents, my teammates and friends and I know other members of my family were all watching (on the livestream) just means a lot. It's super exciting and I'm just so grateful to everyone who has helped me, especially my coaches. I just really can't put it all into words. My grandparents too — they are awesome.”
On top of achieving the two milestones, DuCharme had to do it during an abbreviated COVID-19 season. She missed a game earlier because she was in close contact with someone who had it. Then down the stretch here, no one knew if she would have a chance to do it, since the season could have ended at any point with the possibility of the virus spreading.
Certainly that had to be pressure?
“Honestly, I didn't think it was that much (pressure) until today and I was like 'oh my God', but I got the rebound (milestone) so it was like 'here we go'” she said.
The rebound milestone came on the defensive end, coming late in the second quarter with the 'Cats up 17-13 at the time. She grabbed the board, and play was immediately stopped. The referees blew the whistle, and DuCharme got quick hugs from her coaches and teammates before her parents Bob and Linda met her out at halfcourt for some photos.
“It means a lot because I think sometimes (rebounds) go unnoticed and just to do it and for my parents to be here to see it, just all meant so much,” she said.
She was far from done.
She closed the half out with 14 points, needing six more to reach the 1,000 point plateau. That march started with two free throws with 4:28 left in the third, an inside basket from the paint with 2:12 left which set up the stages for the big one.
Again she grabbed a defensive rebound and this time she moved with the basket up the court, running with the ball past both benches and towards the end with her parents watching. They saw a beautiful spin move, capped off by a finger roll for point numbers 999 and 1,000. Again play stopped for celebrations and pictures, while she received a strong ovation from the very classy Stoneham parents and program.
“I knew my numbers (before the game) but I had two of my teammates over there ripping off pieces of paper (saying how many more points I needed),” said DuCharme with a laugh. “They told me that they were going to do that so I knew (I was close) and it was exciting.”
DuCharme — who has already signed on to play hoop the next four years at Bentley University — came into a difficult situation as a freshman. The team was under the direction of new head coach Robinson, and had a strong nucleus of seniors.
“Kylie should have been a starter but in terms of not trying to ruffle any feathers, she came off the bench and she probably led us in minutes played even though she was coming off the bench,” said Robinson. “Freshmen year (she played so much) more for defensive purposes and rebounding.”
That 2017-'18 season, the Wildcats finished with a 15-8 overall record, including a 2-1 mark in the playoffs. Wilmington knocked out Saugus and the No. 1 seed Lynn Classical before falling to Wakefield. DuCharme played in all 23 games and finished with 5.3 points and 8.7 rebounds per game.
“My freshman year I feel like I didn't score at all. Each year I did more and more, and it's just crazy,” she said.
The following year as a full-time starter, she helped lead the 'Cats to a 13-9 overall record, including a 1-1 mark in the playoffs, first beating the same Classical team before falling to the eventual state champions of Pentucket Regional. That season, her game went to another level, averaging 13.8 points and 11.2 rebounds per game.
Last year as a junior, she again upped her game several notches. She helped the Wildcats finish with their first league title since the 2011-12 season with a 17-6 overall record, including another deep tournament run. The 'Cats defeated Dracut and Somerville before losing to Pentucket once again, this time in the Division 2 North Sectional semi-finals.
“Sophomore year she started taking ownership of scoring and last year she absolutely played out of her mind, averaging 18 points and 18 rebounds a game and this year her numbers are just about the same,” said Robinson. “I feel like the luckiest person to come into this job during her freshman year. I didn't know much of her but when I first saw her play I was like 'wow', I got lucky.”
Through the eight games this season, DuCharme is averaging 19.9 points and 17.0 rebounds per game. On Saturday, she recorded her 52nd career double-double, which is astonishing.
While DuCharme plays a lot of basketball in the off-season with Evolution Club team, she also has played volleyball and lacrosse during her time at the high school. But heading into this basketball season was much different because of the pandemic.
“It's been tough but I think this year more than anything, I have learned to be grateful,” she said. “I'm just so happy that I got a chance to play this year and to be with all of those girls who I started playing travel (basketball with at a young age), I think we all just have so much enjoyment now. We are all just so much more grateful.”
She is also extremely grateful to Robinson, who in her fourth season with the team has done a remarkable job with a 50-27 record, a league title, three state tournament appearances and a 5-3 playoff record.
“(Coach Robinson has helped me) a ton,” said DuCharme. “I can't even describe how much she has helped me. She has helped with my mindset a lot. During my freshman year, she really helped break me out of my shell and she told me that I could do this and do that, so just little stuff like that along the way.”
Robinson made the case that the player has helped her in so many different ways as well.
“Kylie has the best personality that you could ask for her. She is bubbly, warm, kind to everyone and is just so positive. She makes everyone around her a better person and not even just a better basketball player, but she makes everyone around her a better person.”