DELANO — Scoring 1,000 points in a high school basketball career puts a player on a special list. Scoring 2,000 points? Until Thursday night, Delano High School didn’t have to worry about where that puts a player.
The already unprecedented high school career of senior Calvin Wishart grew even more impressive Thursday night against Holy Family at the Tiger Activity Center, where Wishart scored 34 points and became the first Tiger to score 2,000 points for his career.
Wishart sat 26 points shy of 2,000 entering the game. He reached and passed the mark with a steal and a lay-up with 4:26 to play in the second half. He finished with a game-high 34 points and moved his school record to 2,008 entering Friday night’s game at Hutchinson.
“The accolades are cool but I would rather win games. I’m trying to get wins with my friends and make memories. The accolades are cool but I’m expecting to (score) and everybody is expecting me to (score),” said Wishart. ”If they would have stopped the game, I probably would have raised my hand but I wanted the game to keep going.”
Unfortunately, Wishart’s 34 points, 17 rebounds, six assists and six steals were not enough to produce a win, as the Tigers lost the game 77-68.
Wishart scored 22 points in the second half, alone.
Already this season, Wishart passed Toby Hanson’s mark of 1,526 points to become the all-time scorer for the Delano boys and Cecily Checkal’s all-time school mark of 1,846.
Both former points leaders applaud Wishart for the accomplishment because they know the effort and dedication it takes to get that far.
“Congrats to Calvin. I never had the chance to see him play, but, from what I have heard, Delano is lucky to have him,” said Checkal, who graduated from Concordia College in 2112 and is now a CPA living in Corcoran. “It is a pretty remarkable milestone, especially considering that it didn’t take him five years of varsity playing time to do it. I have no doubt that he has spent countless hours in the gym developing his game and the skill of his teammates who have been along for the journey.”
Hanson echoed Checkal’s sentiment.
“One thousand points is a tough accomplishment to start with, but 2,000 takes being able to play at a high level on an everyday basis. To go along with it, the ability to make adjustments on how defenses are guarding you throughout the course of a season and from year-to-year is critical,” said Hanson, now a first baseman at the University of Minnesota. “Calvin stays consistent with his skills and his approach, and adapts to the game when needed. It is a lot of fun to watch.”
Not even the presence of another Gopher, the Polish Eagle Dick Jonckowski, the former voice of Gophers baseball and basketball, was able to help Delano defend against the slick shooting of Holy Family. The undersized Fire knocked down 13 3-pointers. Six of those long-range shots came off the hand of 5-foot-10 guard Lincoln Cizek, who led the Fire with 24 points.
Delano knocked down four 3-point shots.
Trailing 38-31 at halftime, Delano took a legit run at the Holy Family lead early in the second half, cutting the deficit to two points, 38-36, with the first five points of the half. But the Fire stepped back behind the 3-point line, and less than two minutes later it was a 12-point game, 50-38.
It was a six-point game in the final two minutes, but three free throws from the Fire set the final deficit at nine points.
Derek Techam, Wishart’s backcourt mate, had a great game in complimenting Wishart’s big night. Techam buried five 3-point shots and finished with 18 points for the game.
Together, Techam and Wishart scored 23 of Delano’s 31 first-half points. Techam scored 11 points and Wishart scored 12 points in the first half.
Keegan O’Neill scored eight points down low for the Tigers. O’Neill battled foul trouble most of the game. He eventually fouled out, collecting two technicals on the way.
Also for Delano, Trey Longstreet scored six points and Max Otto had two.
Nathan Hendler (19), Nick Hendler (11) and Jacob Zay (10) also found the hoop often for the Fire.
Holy Family moved to 14-4 with the win.
Delano dropped to 10-9 with the loss, which was the fourth in a row and the sixth in seven games for the Tigers.
“Coach is preaching that we need to be playing our best games in March. We are trying to make a state-tournament run, here,” said Wishart. “I’m trying to win every game, because, if we can get some momentum going in, I think it will be for the better. We are just trying to win one game at a time. We will figure it out.”
Delano hopes to figure it out tonight at Hutchinson (2-8).
Next week, Delano hosts New Prague Monday, Feb. 12, and, then, gets a rematch with the Fire Friday, Feb. 16 at Holy Family.