In a circumstance so rare it’s never happened at Edwardsville High School before, Oliver Stephen on Friday became the third Tigers’ basketball player this season to reach 1,000 career points.
Stephen, a 6-foot-4 senior, drained a 3-pointer with 3:58 remaining to reach the 1,000-point mark. He finished with 17 points in the Tigers’ 76-49 Southwestern Conference victory over Belleville West.
Edwardsville seniors Mark Smith and A.J. Epenesa each surpassed 1,000 career points in late December at the Collinsville/Prairie Farms Holiday Classic. Now Stephen’s achievement has allowed three Tigers to reach the 1,000-point mark in one season.
“They’ve never played thinking about scoring points,” said Edwardsville coach Mike Waldo, whose 18-1 team is 7-1 in SWC play and also ranked third in the state in Class 4A said. “They’ve always just played to help the team have success. They’re all very smart, they can see things, act fast and react fast to given situation, which is huge for a basketball player.
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“I really don’t think they play trying to impress somebody and that can happen a lot. They’re just trying to play to help the team do well and if something happens for them after, which it will, then that’s a good thing.”
Epenesa is an All-American defensive end who will sign with Iowa on Wednesday. Smith, averaging 22.9 points and eight rebounds had Kansas and Boston College at recent practices along with Kansas State coach Bruce Weber.
Indiana watched him play last week and Smith’s current offers include Illinois, Kansas State, Missouri, DePaul, Northwestern and Boston College.