Jon Kempf reaches 1,000 points in Hoosick Falls career
Kempf joins Howard Dewey, Wayne Magisano and Kevin McMahon as Hoosick Falls players to reach that mark.
Kempf came into the night eight points away and wasted little time reaching the mark. After a strong six-point effort in the first, he battled into the post through heavy traffic in the early second quarter to notch the basket to reach 1,000. Kempf was fouled on the play and finished the three-point play at the line.
For Kempf, reaching the 1,000-point mark was something he always dreamed of doing in his high school career.
"It's an achievement that I always wanted to achieve in my life," Kempf said. "It's obviously not possible without my teammates and my coaches and the fans that come out and support us. It means a lot."
Hoosick Falls coach Mike Lilac has seen Kempf grow from an upstart freshman on varsity to the go-to option and leader he is today. Lilac couldn't be more proud of his star player for this accomplishment.
"We've only had four in the history of the school, so it's a pretty special milestone," Lilac said. "I thought he had the right mentality tonight. He took advantage of some of the over-agressiveness on their part and found some open guys and was real patient. He knew he would get it one way or another and he actually got it pretty quick. It's a fantastic accomplishment and we're really happy to have that happen here tonight."
The Panthers are a group built upon an unselfish mentality and Kempf fits that system perfectly.
"He was really distributing the ball tonight, which was great to see," Lilac said. "That really makes us a lot better when that happens. He's had the ball in his hands since he was a little kid and it's really paying off now."
Kempf ended the day with a game-high 27 points to leave him at 1,019 for his career.
Thursday's game remained close in the first quarter, with the Witches' three-point shot keeping them afloat. Hoosick Falls led by six heading into the second, but really found its groove in the second where they outscored Greenwich 18-6 to take a 18-point halftime lead.
The Panthers have struggled a bit with turnovers in recent games and Thursday's game changed that trend. Lilac felt that made all the difference, especially in the second.
"Sometimes our problem this year has been being a little too sloppy with the ball. We really took care of it today," Lilac said. "We got out on their shooters. They've been shooting very well, so that was what made the difference."
An unfortunate moment happened for the Panthers about five minutes into the second half. Center Tristan Williams tried to make a cut and his knee ended up buckling on him. Williams dislocated his knee and was down for a considerable amount of time on the court getting medical attention, before he was taken off on a stretcher.
A key post piece for the Panthers, losing Williams could hurt Hoosick Falls' chances heading into sectionals.
For Lilac and Williams' teammates, they just hope their big man is alright and the injury isn't too serious.
"Tristan helps a lot on defense, on offense and helps us score. I'm hoping he's better by next game," Kempf said. "Hopefully, we have guys step up."
"It's one of those moments, where your season flashes before your eyes. Nobody works harder than [Tristan]," Lilac said. "He's a great kid and we just hope he's going to be alright. All we can do now is make it a rallying cry. Guys who haven't had as much of a chance in games will get a chance now. We've got to piece together a lot of things that he gave us."
Thursday night was Senior Night for the Panthers and they honored seniors Brennan Andrew and Isaac Humphrey, along with a pair of cheerleaders, before the game.
Hoosick Falls improves to 17-1. The Panthers will look to defend their Wasaren League championship crown Monday night in a game hosted at Mechanicville High School.
Tip is set for 6 p.m.
Adam Aucoin can be reached at email@example.com and followed at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.
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