Fifteen points in two games didn’t seem like a difficult task, but it became much more difficult when two games turned into one.
Enterprise senior Eli Mabry entered last week 15 points shy of 1,000 career points as a high school basketball player. The Bulldogs had contests scheduled against Taylorsville and Mize, with the latter being senior night, prior to this week’s MHSAA Region 5-2A tournament. The hope was that Mabry would score No. 1,000 in a game that recognized him and his fellow seniors, but Taylorsville had to cancel its game. That meant Mabry had to score all 15 in one game if he was going to reach the milestone on senior night.
Late in the fourth quarter, he got his own offensive rebound and was fouled, stepped up to the free-throw line with 14 points already scored and missed the first shot.
“I was nervous, but I was sure I was going to make (the second one),” Mabry said.
He did, but he couldn’t soak it in just yet, as he had to get back on defense to help secure his team’s 53-49 win. Afterward, his teammates celebrated with sparkling grape juice, and he could finally enjoy the monumental achievement.
“Once the game was over it was a pretty big celebration,” Mabry said. “It was a memory for sure. I’ll never forget it.”
Bulldogs head coach Justin Sollie said it was a relief for everyone that Mabry was able to reach 1,000 points on senior night, especially since he needed exactly 15 and scored that many points.
“It did make it extra-special getting it on the number, and the student section had a countdown ticker during the game,” Sollie said. “It was relief, but I think he would be honest that there was more relief in that we pulled out a needed win.”
For some, the student section counting down the points might have been distracting, but Mabry said he was grateful for their energy.
“I was more feeding off of it,” Mabry said. “It felt good to have them cheering me on.”
After reaching the milestone, Mabry said there was definitely some relief being able to do it in his team’s last home game of the regular season.
“There was a lot of pressure, plus the fact that it was senior night,” Mabry said. “I really didn’t play that well to be honest, but luckily I was able to get it in the fourth.”
One thousand points is difficult to come by for most high schoolers, but Sollie said he isn’t surprised Mabry was able to accomplish it given his abilities on the court.
“He has a really good awareness for spacing, but he’s not just a spot-up shooter,” Sollie said. “What he does extremely well is, if you leave him open he’ll hurt you from the outside, but he’s gifted enough handling the ball and finishing that he’s really an all-around player. He’s allowed me to play him at the five and the one, and it’s rare to have a guy you can truly play at any spot one through five, and he excels at it.”
Mabry admitted circumstance played a part in the achievement as well.
“I was fortunate enough to be a freshman starter on a not-so-good varsity team,” Mabry said.
And Sollie said starting all four years was critical in reaching 1,000 career points.
“You either have to be a four-year starter or you have to score a lot of points sophomore year on,” Sollie explained. “You look at it as, you have to play 100 games and average 10 a game. It’s not an easy feat.”
Following this week’s regional tournament, Enterprise returns to action next week for the first round of the MHSAA Class 2A playoffs.