Central’s Izzy Allen goes up for a shot as Dexter’s Jozlynn Paige defends in second half action of the Class C girls semifinal game Friday at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. Dexter won the game 56-51. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

Even for those not particularly good at math or basketball, it is obvious that scoring 1,000 points in a high school basketball career is quite the accomplishment. And it is especially impressive that so many Maine student athletes have reached this milestone this year.

As BDN sports reporter Adam Robinson explained in a recent story, there were a total of 26 boys and girls players who reached the mark this year — up from 19 last year. These accomplished players hail from across the state.

The seven girls to reach the 1,000-point mark this year were Izzy Allen from Central High School, Lizzy Gruber from Gardiner Area High School, Cami Shields from Southern Aroostook Community School, Elise McNair from Old Orchard Beach High School, Audrey Mackie from Oceanside High school, and Olivia Ouellette and Lilly Roy from Wisdom Middle High School.

The 19 boys to surpass 1,000 points were Chance Mercier from Ellsworth High School, Will Kusneirz from Dexter Regional High School, Landen Johnson from Old Orchard Beach High School, Charlie Houghton from Dirigo High School, Shane Feeney from Machias Memorial High School, Malachi Cummings from Presque Isle High School, Grady Ritchie from Katahdin Middle/High School, Jason Reynolds from Winslow High School, Ethan Daigle from Fort Kent Community High School, Walker Oliver from Hodgdon High School, Ethan Monk from Woodland Junior-Senior High School, Dominick Gendreau from Wisdom Middle High School, Luke Carey from Carrabec High School, Andrew Scott from Lee Academy, Callon Franzose from Madison Area Memorial High School, Carson Cyr from Madawaska High School, Brady Saunders from Brewer High School, Damon Beal from Jonesport-Beals High School, and Jace Cook from Calais High School.

Each of these players has earned their place among a select group of Maine student athletes, and deserves appreciation for that. Robinson spoke with several coaches across the state about how players reach this accomplishment and the consensus is that time and hard work are common denominators.

“Kids are coming to high school having put in so much time,” Mike Gray, the Gardiner girls basketball coach, told Robinson. “Those top kids already have so much experience either training or playing, coming in more ready to help right away. One thousand points is a lot, you almost have to jump in and be able to play right away.”

Ellsworth boys coach Peter Austin described 1,000-point scorer Chance Mercier as “a gym rat” and “one of the hardest workers” with Mercier reaching the milestone in his junior year.

“Yesterday he was asking me, ‘If school gets canceled can I still get in the gym?’ I said, ‘Well, as long as the roads aren’t too bad,’” Austin said.

Clearly, all the time and hard work have paid off for these impressive young people. The interviews with coaches also yielded some interesting, and important, thoughts about other aspects of the game besides points that deserve our collective attention.

“It’s not in the public consciousness but there should be a rebounding mark and assist mark,” Winslow boys basketball coach Ken Lindlof said.

“Those are things that should be recognized as much as scoring but I would have to sit down and calculate the equal numbers to 1,000 points,” Lindlof added.

Points in a basketball game don’t just materialize. A team needs to rebound and move the ball. Even a supremely talented individual player isn’t out there on the court by themself.

Southern Aroostook girls basketball coach Cliff Urquhart suggested a win total for players would also be good to track.

“It’s a team sport so I think my ultimate answer would be wins over individual accomplishments, but that might just be coach-speak,” Urquhart added.

We have to agree with these coaches, and not just when it comes to high school sports. Hustle matters. The final group product is usually more important than individual accolades (not to take anything away from the individual accolades!).

On a recent edition of the Bangor Daily News Sports Show, Robinson and fellow BDN sports reporter Larry Mahoney recapped this year’s high school basketball tournament, highlighting some of the outstanding individual efforts but also the way that teams came together to win championships.

Journalism, like basketball, is a team sport. And we’re lucky to be on a team with reporters like Mahoney and Robinson, along with photojournalists like Linda Coan O’Kresik and Troy Bennett, and everyone else who joined forces to cover the sprawling and always exciting high school tourney this year.

They don’t have a single stat for it, but we’re confident that our BDN teammates have already earned their share of hustle points in 2023. Maybe not 1,000 but still quite a few.

The Bangor Daily News editorial board members are Publisher Richard J. Warren, Opinion Editor Susan Young, Deputy Opinion Editor Matt Junker and BDN President Todd Benoit. Young has worked for the BDN...