Austin Johnson came down with the rebound, pounded down the court, and wasn’t about to let a Trojans’ defender get between him and his 1,000th career point.
Johnson’s bucket late in the third quarter marked a major milestone for the soft-spoken Lakers’ senior, who became just the fourth player in team history to reach the 1,000-point milestone.
The game was stopped at the next dead ball and the fans and players from both sides acknowledged Johnson’s accomplishment.
Johnson just wanted to get back to the game.
“It feels kind of good,” Johnson said. “Coach (Bill) Core told me to enjoy it, because I’m only the fourth player to do it. But at that point, we were still playing, so I was only thinking about the game.”
Core said that’s Johnson in a nutshell. He takes the game so seriously that something so trivial as a personal milestone isn’t going to distract him from the task at hand.
“Austin is just so focused, so I told him, after the game, you have to enjoy this,” Core said. “He’s worked so hard for this, and he deserves to enjoy it.”
Core said that according to the records he has, Casey Hager holds the school scoring record with 1,216 points. Next is Larry Aldridge at 1,059, followed by Levent Sipahi with 1,025.
Johnson sits at 1,003 after scoring 18 points on Friday.
Fruitport coach Bill Andree has had to coach against Johnson the past two years, and he’s noticed a difference in the Lakers’ 6-foot-2 forward this season.
“He’s taken the team on his shoulders,” Andree said. “And he works very hard, all year ‘round. He’s just a very talented player.”