COLUMBIA — “Get this,” Josh Boyer said.
The senior forward stretched out on the Fr. Tolton Regional Catholic High School training table and flipped out a white basketball.
“We’re in the locker room before the game,” he said, “and somebody opens a cabinet and they find a basketball (that) says, ‘Josh Boyer, 1,000 points, February 10, 2015.’ So I had to get it tonight.”
Boyer needed 9 points to reach the mark heading into his home game against Muriel Williams Battle High School on Tuesday night. Already with 7 points in the second quarter, he took a pass on the right wing and turned toward the basket. His defender took three steps back, tempting the big man to shoot the 3.
He took the bait.
“What the heck,” he said, ball leaving his finger tips. “Dear sweet Jesus, this would be cool.”
“That’s 1,000,” Tolton coach Jeremy Osborne said on the bench. “Well, 1,001.”
It fell, rattling off the rim and giving the Trailblazers (18-2) an 18-point lead en route to their 84-65 win on senior night.
On the next possession for the Spartans (6-13), Boyer picked up his third foul in the first half, forcing Osborne to send him to the bench. The Trailblazer student section grabbed Boyer before he could reach the cooler to get a drink of water.
“The 1,000-point man,” public address announcer Fr. Michael Coleman said, when Boyer checked back in during the second half.
Boyer finished with 15 points in the win. He is the second player from Tolton’s four-year history to hit the millennium scoring mark. Sophomore guard Michael Porter Jr. reached the milestone earlier this season. He scored a game-high 29 points Tuesday.
But Boyer headlines Tolton’s senior class. The school was founded in 2011. The varsity basketball team then had eight players, seven of which were in Boyer’s class. They had played together on different youth leagues since the third grade.
“My dad coached in seventh grade,” said senior guard Brennan Church, who scored 16 points on the night. “We weren’t phenomenal, but we could win games.”
Boyer said it was a driving reason why most of the seniors enrolled at Tolton.
Osborne said he can see the years of chemistry paying off.
“It’s the little things,” he said. “It’s knowing where each other are going to be on the court. They’re solid. They’re consistent like always.”
And they’ve won 49 games. “And counting,” athletics director Chad Masters said.
Tuesday’s game was never in doubt. Tolton never trailed and led by as many as 23 points in the second half.
Battle forward Jadaunte Sutton mounted a charge in the second half, notching 13 of his 22 points after halftime. He also grabbed a game-high 19 rebounds.
“He’s got a great motor,” Osborne said. “He out-worked us on the glass.”
The Spartans cut the lead to 13 with four minutes to play. Church responded with a pair of tough layups. Boyer nailed a jumper, then a layup plus the foul.
Senior forward Wes Waterman hit a 3-pointer minutes later. The rout was back on. Tolton remains undefeated at home.
Afterward, Church said the feeling of having played his last game on his home court was sinking in.
“I love playing with these guys,” he said. “I wish we could all go to the same college.”
Supervising editor Seth Boster.