Leah Church never really thought about breaking the unofficial world record for getting the most three-pointers in five minutes, but when the topic popped up on her Twitter feed two weeks ago, she said to herself, “I think I can do that.” And so she hit the gym near her home in Winston-Salem, N.C., and went for it.
“I had 111 the first time I tried it,” she told The Washington Post on Friday, and just more than a week later — only her second attempt going through the full five-minute cycle — Church racked up 120. Not bad for a 17-year-old.
But shooting is kind of Church’s thing. She looks up to the NBA’s three-point king Stephen Curry and calls her abilities “God-given.” She’s even got basketball in her blood. Although neither her mom, who videotaped Church’s feat, nor her dad, who rebounded the balls to Church, played basketball, her grandfather and uncle both did.
“Everyone’s 6-6 of 6-7,” she said talking about her family’s height. Church herself describes herself as “just 5-8” but hopes to gain another inch or two as she eyes a college basketball career, possibly with the North Carolina Tar Heels, of which she’s a “lifelong fan.” She’s keeping her options open, however.
“It’s been my goal every since I was really little to play Division I college basketball and then we’ll see what happens after that,” she said. “I would love to go into coaching one day.”
For now though, the home-schooled junior, who says she’s been on various varsity teams since she was in sixth grade, is concentrating on her AAU career with the Winston-Salem Stealers, a team she just joined this year.
She’s also, of course, not giving up on breaking the record, which currently is held by fellow high schooler Josh Ruggles, who hit 135 three-pointers in five minutes in 2013.
“If I keep working, I can get this,” Church said, noting that she hopes to break Ruggles’s record sometime this fall.
Ruggles, meanwhile, has no hard feelings and has even welcomed the competition, Church says.
“He tweeted me and told me that (my video) was very impressive and, of course, I told him he was too since he holds the record,” she said.
For now, at least.
“I’m eager to get another try,” she said.