By Pete Chiodo
Dalton Boggs knew it as soon as it left his hands.
“Yeah,” he said. “Felt good. Felt good coming off.”
Then the 3-point shot he had just let go of splashed through the hoop. And then the celebration began.
Boggs had just become the second member of the Lakeview boys basketball team to score 1,000 career points this season. Teammate Casey Greggs had reached the milestone on Jan. 5.
And if that wasn’t enough, once Lakeview’s 71-49 win over Sharpsville was all wrapped up, head coach Gary Burke celebrated career win No. 200.
Tuesday was quite a night to be a Lakeview Sailor.
Boggs came into the game needing 17 points to break 1,000. And for most of last night’s contest it was far from certain that he was going to get it. He only scored one point in the first quarter, ended the first half with five, and then racked up five more in the third.
“I just wanted to focus on the win first and let the 1,000 points come when they come, just play like I normally do,” said Boggs. “Maybe I tried to force the issue a couple times. But I’m much more comfortable playing as a team. I think I’m a much better passer than I am at creating my own shot.”
In the fourth, however, Boggs caught fire. He opened the period with a 3-pointer from the top of the key. Three minutes later, he dropped in another trey, giving him 999.
Finally, with 2:34 remaining in the game, Boggs had an open shot from the wing — bombs away — and he joined the history books.
“Nothing means more to me than (Boggs) getting it with me,” said Greggs. “We’ve been playing basketball with each other since 1st grade. We’ve been right there with each other the whole way. It’s awesome.”
Boggs was pulled a little while after that.
Lakeview was comfortably in front by then. And when the clock hit zeros it was Burke’s turn to celebrate a milestone.
“Two hundred wins, that’s quite an accomplishment,” said Greggs. “And I feel like I’ve been here for all of them. It’s a good thing. He’s a heck of a coach. He’s intense. He knows how to get down.”
Burke, who has coached since the 2000-01 season, has been able to maintain a consistently competitive program throughout his tenure. And he credits that to the kids he’s coached over the years.
“You take 200 wins and you divide them by (13 years), the kids are averaging 15 to 16 wins a season,” he said. “And this really speaks to the kids’ effort during the offseason, being coachable, being willing to buy into what I’m selling. It’s just the kind of great young men that have come through this program. It’s been a blessing to me. I’ve had great kids throughout the years, so I’m lucky.”
Underlying all this hoopla was another Region 2 victory for the Sailors. They’re now 18-3 on the year and 9-2 in the region, firmly entrenched in second place in the conference behind Mercer County juggernaut West Middlesex.
Burke and company are hoping there are still some big wins yet to come this season.
“We’re not done yet,” he said. ”We’re looking to get some March madness here ourselves. I think our kids are focused on that. Hopefully it will work out for us.”
Sharpsville, which entered the game in third in Region 2, slipped to 11-10 overall and 5-6 in the region.
“(The win) means a lot,” said Greggs. “Sharpsville has always been our little battle. So, laying one on them is always fun, especially in their own house.”
The Sailors led the whole way. They bolted out to a 10-2 lead, then were up 12-7 after one quarter, 25-18 at the half and 47-30 after three.
A big difference was rebounding. The Sailors had 25 boards to Sharpsville’s 17. The Sailors also knew what to do with those rebounds, scoring 12 second-chance points in the first half and six more in the second half.
Coty Gander and Brandon Rice were both credited with eight rebounds on the day. Gander had five on offense.
“Coty was hitting the boards hard in the first half,” said Greggs, who had five boards of his own. “We weren’t making shots and he was cleaning them up.”
Four Sailors finished with double-digit points. Boggs led the way with his 19. Greggs had 16. Gander had 14 and Rice 13.
Boggs also had seven assists. Zach Van Dusen had five assists.
The Sailors had 17 total assists and just seven turnovers in the game.
For Sharpsville, Tyler Luchey racked up 26 markers. Kyle Kennedy scored 11 and Jake Bulick scored 10.