Dighton rewrites Boone history books as all-time leading scorer
Among the Boone girls basketball team's season, Feb. 2 looks inconsequential. By all accounts, a blowout win over two-win Carlisle was expected but it couldn't push the Toreadors over the edge in the conference standings. And it wasn't even their biggest win of the season.
But it was the team's senior night, and quite appropriately, one senior wrote her name in the school record books.
Leading the team in scoring was nothing new for senior Emma Dighton. She had already scored at least 20 points in three games her senior season, and averaged 15.4 points per game — ranked 17th in Class 4A — so another 20 points against the Wildcats was just another day at the office.
Except, that performance was enough to crown her as Boone's new all-time leading scorer. With seven more games left in the season, she rose the bar another 112 points. Now the school will need to get its record board updated to show Dighton's career total of 1,198 points over the course of her four years.
"I'm just very honored. There are so many great players that I have played with that have also been high in the ranks," Dighton told the Boone News-Republican. "I'm just honored to be up there with them."
As a rare four-year starter, Dighton was able to learn from two of the most accomplished athletes in Boone history as Caitlynne Shadle and Claire Sandvig each earned all-state honors in 2018.
Even with those two battling for attention, Dighton carved out her role early on as she was second among the team with 12.2 points per game as a freshman. Her role was largely designated to the perimeter as she led the team with 41 three-pointers, no small feat for a freshman.
"Her job was really to sit out on the three-point line and take shots," head coach Jim McPartland said. "Our impression was she was a really hard-working player. She had a lot of good experience [playing in AAU] and it's just been fun to see the evolution of her over four years."
Taking over as the team's go-to threat as a sophomore, Dighton was forced into a position to grow beyond that specialist role. That season, she not only led the team in points but was first in steals, and second in both rebounds and assists. As a senior, growing into a two-point specialist, she led the team in all four of those categories plus blocks.
That well-rounded chart of abilities made her a matchup for teams across the board. Having to draw up game plans for Dighton six times over the last two seasons, former Perry head coach Skylar Wolf said trying to defend Dighton was a losing battle. Putting so much attention stopping her only opened up windows for the rest of the team.
"She's a heck of a player," Wolf said. "She can shoot it inside, outside, does it all. It's just really hard to defend because you don't have one person you're trying to stop. You've got four or five."
Dighton took pride in that, not because of the attention or vindication of her talents she's been developing since before kindergarten, but because of the players that were able to shine this year by her side.
"This season, we've really been in-line with each other because we have multiple shooters. So I'm kind of the designated driver," Dighton said. "I'm able to rely on anyone that can make that shot. I feel like we kind of just work like that together."
Led by Dighton, the 2020-21 season marked the first time since Boone's 2018 substate final appearance in which the team had five players cross the 100-point threshold. Along with Dighton were Morgan Kathman, Emmy Lewis, Natalee Danner, and fellow senior Emily Ades.
Now that group of Toreadors has their own role model to look back on as they continue their careers as Dighton did with Shadle and Sandvig.
Of course, this isn't the final chapter for Dighton, either. While her work on the hardwood has been headline-worthy, she's arguably even more dominant on the softball field as she's already earned two all-state honors and has led the Raccoon River Conference in home runs the last two seasons. Considering herself as a stronger softball player, Dighton has committed DMACC to continue her career on the diamond.