Perry joins brother in Old Fort’s 1,000-point club
OLD FORT – Hunter Perry knows where he ranks to his coach in Old Fort history at the moment.
And Eric Hoover made sure he reminded him of it Friday night.
Perry’s 23 points Friday night against Seneca East not only allowed the senior point guard to eclipse 1,000 points for his career, but also left him two point behind Hoover’s career mark of 1,009.
“I may or may not have told him that,” Hoover said with a grin.
Perry knew that too.
“He was bugging me about it in the locker room,” he said.
But there’s another number he’s more concerned with: 1,259. That’s how many points his brother Dalton scored when he graduated this past spring. And Hunter said he’s gunning for 1,260.
“I want to beat him a lot,” Hunter said with a chuckle. “He usually says I’m not going to beat (his mark). So I guess I work harder at it.”
The Perrys are the first siblings to eclipse the 1,000-point barrier in Old Fort history. Hunter became the 10th player overall and eighth boy to make the Stockader record books. The all-time leader is Jeff Miller who scored 1,776 points from 1992-1996.
“It means a lot. I’ve been working during the summer and off-season,” Hunter said of joining that group. “Just any time I get the chance, I try to work at it. I’ve been working on my jump shot a lot. I’ve been running and doing stuff on my own and I guess it’s helped a little bit.”
Hunter needed just 16 points coming into the game to reach 1,000. After a relatively quiet six-point first quarter, he started to hit his stride in the second quarter, scoring eight points in the first five minutes of the quarter.
The crowd knew he was close, too. Each time Hunter touched the ball, the crowd would turn up the volume, and when he fired, it was a hushed silence. He said it was hard not to pay attention to the scoreboard that shows how many points each player has.
“It was (tough). I kept glaring up there. When I had 14 and I had the ball, I heard the crowd going,” he said.
He misfired on that 3-pointer and missed on another bucket in the paint on the next trip down the floor. But the third time was the charm with 1:41 to go in the second quarter, burying a jumper in the lane.
“I chucked up (that) three and I shouldn’t have. I missed it,” Hunter said. “As soon as I let go of that last shot to get my 1,000 points, everyone just went crazy and it was good feeling.”
The game was stopped so Perry could receive the game ball from Hoover. He promptly then ran up into the crowd to give the ball to his mom, Gina, who was next his dad, Alan.
“It felt really good to give it to them,” Hunter said. “She kind of told me to bring the ball up to her or she’d get me.”
Hunter received a tip of the cap of Seneca East coach Joe Nowak.
“He’s a great player. He can take it off the dribble and shoot it from pretty deep. But what I think what’s best about him is he may force the issue a little bit but he’s not what I would classify as a selfish player,” Nowak said. “He was looking at all of his teammates tonight to get them the ball, too. That’s something special that you don’t see a whole lot. Any time you have a player of that caliber that’s willing to share the ball, it doesn’t make it any easier, that’s for sure.”
Hoover said his point guard has grown leaps and bounds over the years.
“From the first time I met him to today, it’s unbelievable (how much he’s grown),” Hoover said. “So the attention he gets from the defenses, the media, whatever, is all deserved because he’s worked his butt off for it. It’s not like he’s a lazy kid who has some God-given gifts or something like that. He works hard and wants to be good.”
He also had no doubts that Hunter would be here one day.
“Just the raw skills he had, you could see it in there if it just came out,” Hoover said. “He was timid. He was small. He was an absolute pipsqueak in junior high so he’s always played (with a chip on his shoulder). I was getting on him last year (in the middle of the) year, ‘You’re all grown up now. You’re as big as everyone else out here. You don’t have to play like that.’ It was like he kind of realized that’s how he needed to play and now he’s our leading rebounder. He gets in there and gets up and battles for the ball. He’s strong inside and does a much better job attacking the basket. He’s realized he’s not a little kid anymore.”
Hunter said it was the rivalry of brothers Cody and Dalton that has pushed him to this point.
“We usually pushed each other as kids,” Hunter said. “We’d all go out back and play basketball. Since I was the youngest one, they used to push me around a little bit to make me better. I think (my growth) had a lot to do when I was little and started to grow up and stuff.”
And it’s the fact Dalton still is in front of him that will push him the rest of the way.