Columbia Girls Basketball’s 1000-Point Scorer Talia Baptiste Shooting for a Career in Medicine


Baptiste looks forward to playing Division I basketball and majoring in biology in college

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The following is a press release from SOMSD: 

MAPLEWOOD, N.J. – When Talia Baptiste began her final season with Columbia High School’s Girls Basketball Team, it was far from certain that she would achieve 1,000 high school career points.

“I wasn’t really sure if I was going to get it,” said Baptiste, a senior. “I was only at 552 points.”

A bone bruise on her left knee kept her off the court for nine games during her junior year season. To achieve 1000 points this year, Baptiste needed to score nearly twice as many points this season as she did last season ­– which is exactly what she did.

“A lot of people wanted it for me. That pushed me a lot to get it,” she said.

The culminating moment came seven seconds into the second quarter of an away game against Bernards High School.

“I dribble up on the right side. I do a quick cross between the legs. I take it to the left. Over two girls – over the big girl –  and laid it in,” said Baptiste, reliving the play.

CLICK HERE to see the play.


The celebration was brief during the game, but Baptiste’s parents ­– Roger and Renee Baptiste – were both at the game and there were lots of hugs from her teammates and coaches.

A few days later, the CHS Girls Basketball Season – and Baptiste’s high school basketball career ­– came to an end. The team fell to Union City High School in the first round of the state tournament.

Talia Baptiste, center, with her family on CHS Girls Basketball’s Senior Night.

While Baptiste began the season unsure of reaching the 1000-point milestone, she did know where she would be playing next year. In early October, Baptiste committed to play for Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Division I Women’s Basketball Team.

Baptiste said she had mixed emotions about being at the nexus of high school and college.

“I’m excited that I get to go on because of my college career and stuff,” she said. “I am going to miss my team a lot. We got really close over this season and had a lot of fun.”

Among the people she will miss the most is Head Coach Aaron Breitman.

“He started here my freshman year. We both have been here the same amount of time. He’s been a very important factor in terms of my development, on and off the court, making sure I’m in the right mindset and just helping me overall,” she said.

When asked what Breitman is like as a coach when she isn’t performing optimally during a game, Baptiste recalled the team’s last game against Hillside High School.

“I wasn’t really having a bad day, but I wasn’t doing anything really great as far as my production,” she said. “He takes me to the side, and he goes, ‘I need you to turn up. You gotta go score. Do something. Fix your energy on defense. A slight shift from you is going to turn the whole team around.’ And he was right. We did end up with the win.”

Breitman called Baptiste a special talent who was given an impossible task this year.

She was asked to lead and be the best player on a team with only two returning varsity in Essex County’s best division which includes three of  New Jersey’s Top 20 teams,” he said. “I saw frustration on her face at times but at the end of the day, Talia is a mature young adult who understands that even in tough times the job needs to get done.”

Talia Baptiste, center, after scoring her 1,000th high school career point.

Breitman added that Baptiste being a phenomenal ball handler who is left-hand dominant makes opposing teams crazy when coming up with a game plan.

“It’s not every day that a coach has a player who can dribble through any full-court press,” he said. “Talia’s passing is also overlooked sometimes. The way she creates open looks for her teammates by drawing the entire defense to her is something magical.”

Baptiste said there were a number of reasons why she decided to commit to FDU. Among them was the team’s fast style of play, which fits her own. And after going to a couple of practices, she liked the camaraderie among the players and felt like she would belong.

But going to college will be about more than basketball for Baptiste. She intended to major in biology with her sights on medical school (neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, and cardiology are among her interests).

And would she ever join the ranks of the other alumni coaches on the CHS Girls Basketball Team? Baptiste said she wasn’t sure, given the goals she is pursuing. But she didn’t close the door completely.

“It’s definitely something I would consider if I do have enough time,” she said.

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