HANCOCK COUNTY — For most high school basketball players, team goals often come first and foremost.
Winning a sectional title, possibly cutting down a regional championship net or maybe even making a trip to downtown Indianapolis and competing in the Indiana High School Athletic Association State Finals take top precedent.
And, rightfully so. However, there remains one set of elusive numerals that can often define a player’s high school basketball career.
While in theory, the number doesn’t appear as difficult to reach in the modern-hoops era — with the 3-point shot becoming a primary tool for many players — but 1,000-career points continues to remain the pinnacle.
Yet, there are so many factors involved.
A player will typically shoot to average around 250 points a season — or more for four straight years — and to do so, requires not only skill, sustained health and an opportunity, but sometimes, a little bit of luck.
For some players, the opportunity of varsity playing time doesn’t unfold until their sophomore or, maybe even, their junior seasons. For the fortunate few, those numbers start compounding from the first day as true freshman.
Regardless, minutes don’t always equal points nor an easy pathway to 1,000 over the course of four years.
When games are halted to celebrate such a career milestone, there’s significance involved. If a player happens to be honored three times in their career, much like 2017 Greenfield-Central graduate Madison Wise, the county’s all-time girls basketball scoring leader (2,109 points), then there’s history associated with the in-game disruption.
As in Wise’s case, she was highlighted for surpassing 1,000, 2,000 and for surging past former all-time scoring champions Mt. Vernon’s Sydney Shelton (1,985 points) and Greenfield-Central’s Ellen Hamilton (1,885).
New Palestine’s Maximus Gizzi, who seized multiple program records upon graduating in 2020, owns the Dragons’ top-career scoring honor with 1,612 points, but the label of best of the best still goes to Greenfield’s Mike Edwards (1969) with 2,343 points.
Greenfield-Central’s John Hamilton (2000) is the county’s other lone boys’ 2,000-point scorer at 2,064.
Eastern Hancock’s Addison True, a true multi-sport athlete that graduated in 2018, is the best the Royals have ever seen at 1,494 career points.
This year, the county’s 1,000-point club welcomed a few new members, and surprisingly, two still have another season to go. Another remains active in the IHSAA state tournament series, while a few more are in line to possibly make the jump in 2022-23 or this weekend.
Steele Brasfield, New Palestine
Unlike Gizzi, who made an impact from the moment he entered high school as a freshman, Brasfield, an Indiana Tech recruit, had to earn his chance.
A role player early in his career, Brasfield’s production skyrocketed when he became the focal point of the New Palestine offense, beginning in his junior season. The transition resulted in 396 points in 23 games during the 2020-21 campaign.
This year, the Dragons’ senior amassed a single-season best 510 points at 19.6 per game to break the 1,000-point mark with 1,081 overall in his career. He finished his career averaging 14.4 points per game.
Landon O’Neal, Eastern Hancock
We still have no idea how far Eastern Hancock senior Landon O’Neal and the state-ranked Class 2A Royals will go this postseason. After claiming their first sectional title since 2008, the Royals are on a mission to potentially end another drought this weekend with the program’s last regional title coming in 2003.
One thing is certain, O’Neal will be regarded as one of the program’s most prolific scorers by the end of the team’s 2021-22 state tournament run.
Technically, O’Neal joined the 1,000-point club as a junior, finishing his third varsity season with 1,003 points. But, he hammered down the point once the 2021-22 season started, and he’s steadily climbing the program’s all-time leader board.
With 1,416 career points, O’Neal ranks third all time behind 2011 graduate Dustin Smith (1,447) and True.
O’Neal is averaging 16.5 points per game this season, which is a single-season best for him in addition to his 413 points scored this year.
Dylan Moles, Greenfield-Central
Here’s where the fun begins, so to speak. Only a junior, Moles seems more like a fifth-year senior at this point in his career. A standout from his freshman season, Moles opened his career with 219 points in 24 games during the 2019-20 campaign.
He followed up that season with another 340 and busted out with 441 as a junior to hit 1,000 points even through 71 career games.
Over the course of his sophomore season, Moles average 14.2 points per game, which he increased to 19.2 as a junior. His 3-point efficiency sits at 43 percent (148 of 347), so there’s potential for another 400-plus point season ahead in 2022-23.
He currently is ranked 10th on Greenfield-Central’s all-time scoring list for boys basketball, and with another projected 400 points, he could find himself somewhere around the top-three. This would include surpassing his childhood hero, Tate Hall, a 2016 graduate, who was the last Cougar to break 1,000 points at 1,315 before making multiple NCAA Tournament appearances at the next level.
Second on the Cougars’ all-time list is Keegan Carmony (1,463) a 2004 graduate. Hall is ranked fourth behind Rhett Reed (1,369), who graduated in 1998.
Isabella Gizzi, New Palestine
Another junior 1,000-point club member, Gizzi, the daughter of Dragons head coach Sarah (Haynes) Gizzi, also has another season ahead of her.
With 1,084 career points, Gizzi contended with nagging injuries this season and, like most, faced the hurdles of a COVID-19 season in 2020-21 that made things difficult.
Despite the uncontrollable obstacles, Gizzi upped her production from 13.8 points per game as a sophomore to 20.5 as a junior. She had 288 points as a frosh and 345 in her second season.
This year, she posted 451 points to become New Palestine’s second all-time leading scorer behind only her mother and coach, Sarah, who still holds the school’s record at 1,172.
Barring any misfortune, Isabella Gizzi is projected to overtake her mother’s title, which has stood the test of time since 1994 when Sarah Gizzi was named an Indiana All-Star.
The only other Dragons girls player to even come close was Raegan McMurray in 2017 when she finished with 1,081 points.
By 2023, New Palestine basketball — both boys and girls — could be a true family affair with Maximus Gizzi being the school’s all-time boys scoring leader and Sarah passing the torch to Isabella.
More to Come?
There’s a possibility that a fifth player could join the 1,000-point club by season’s end. Mt. Vernon senior Armon Jarrard, an IUPUI commit, is on the verge of the milestone at 973 points in his career.
Jarrard has been on a tear recently, scoring 25, 29 and 26 points, consecutively, through three sectional games to help the 4A No. 7 Marauders win back-to-back titles and the program’s third in five years.
At the Southport Regional this weekend, a big game in the regional semifinal could push him over the top, but two games would more than likely make it easier.
Another pair to watch next season hail from Eastern Hancock in juniors Silas and Jacob Spaulding, the twin sons of head coach Aaron Spaulding. While neither are in immediate line to hit the 1,000-point plateau this month, the 2022-23 season isn’t out of the question.
Silas Spaulding has 708 career points in three seasons, while Jacob has amassed 757 points. Jacob scored 301 points as a sophomore and currently has 337 as a junior with the regional tournament ahead this weekend in Greenfield.
Jacob is averaging 13.5 points per game, while Silas is averaging 10.9 with 291 points in 2020-21 and 272 points this year, and counting.
Hancock County All-Time Boys Basketball Career-Scoring List
2,343 — Mike Edwards, Greenfield (1969)
2,064 — John Hamilton, Greenfield-Central (2000)
1,612 — Maximus Gizzi, New Palestine (2020)
1,494 — Addison True, Eastern Hancock (2018)
1,463 — Keegan Carmony, Greenfield-Central (2004)
1,447 — Dustin Smith, Eastern Hancock (2011)
1,416 — Landon O’Neal, Eastern Hancock (2022)*
1,415 — Derek Harmon, Eastern Hancock (2003)
1,390 — Tim Miller, Mt. Vernon (1998)
1,369 — Rhett Reed, Greenfield-Central (1998)
1,315 — Larry Spegal, Wilkinson (1955)
1,315 — Tate Hall, Greenfield-Central (2016)
1,285 — Tom Giles, New Palestine (1979)
1,282 — Michael Ertel, Mt. Vernon (2017)
1,264 — CJ Coleman, Mt. Vernon (2014)
1,210 — Pete Hubert, Eastern Hancock (1976)
1,145 — David Essington, Greenfield-Central (1988)
1,134 — Kent Raymond, New Palestine (2004)
1,106 — Ryan Curry, New Palestine (2015)
1,100 — Richard O’Neal, Eastern Hancock (1976)
1,081 — Steele Brasfield, New Palestine (2022)
1,057 — Ryan Reed, Greenfield-Central (1994)
1,051 — Erick Shepherd, Mt. Vernon (2017)
1,047 — Kevin Bell, Greenfield-Central (1982)
1,041 — Matt English, Greenfield-Central (1991)
1,039 — Dennis Ulrey, New Palestine (1975)
1,027 — Michael Morris, New Palestine (2013)
1,025 — T.J. Ott, New Palestine (1998)
1,009 — Mark Galbraith, Greenfield-Central (2004)
1,004 — Gene “Tink” O’Neal, Eden (1946)
1,000 — Dylan Moles, Greenfield-Central (2023)*
1,000 — Ray Hobbs, New Palestine (1989)
* player remains active
(Please submit corrections or additions to GDR Sports Editor Rich Torres at [email protected])