While much of the Northeast was belted by massive accumulations of snow, the Blizzard Nemo mostly spared the Johnstown area.
Another Nemo created a buzz on Osborne Street on Friday night, though the flurry of points had nothing to do with the winter weather.
Instead, Bishop McCort junior Nemo Trexler used a 20-point effort to reach 1,000 career points quicker than anyone in the Crushers’ storied boys basketball history.
Trexler needed 16 for the milestone, which he reached with 17.5 seconds remaining in the third quarter of a 61-43 victory over visiting Richland. He finished the night with 1,004 points and helped his team keep pace with Johnstown atop the LHAC Section 2.
“It means a lot but I think as time goes on, as I age, it’s going to mean more for me,” said Trexler, who has 360 points this season and averages 18.9 a game. “I don’t really understand how it feels now because I’m 17 years old and I’m still young. But definitely it is a milestone I’m going to look back on for the rest of my life.”
Trexler was more concerned about the team result.
“This was a big win for us,” he said. “The last time we were up there as time wore on we didn’t play together. This time we played together the whole game and the outcome was a win.”
Richland had defeated visiting McCort 51-43 on Jan. 16.
The Rams (9-10, 6-9 LHAC, 4-5 Section 2) jumped out to a quick lead again on Friday and led 14-10 after one quarter.
The Crushers (13-6, 12-3, 8-1) turned up the defensive intensity a notch in the second quarter and held Richland without a field goal.
McCort opened the second on a 14-0 run to lead 24-14 on a Trexler basket 4:35 before halftime.
“I think the second quarter was pretty much self-inflicted,” Richland coach Greg Burke said. “They played half-man on us and we had 18 turnovers in the first half. When you have 18 turnovers against an average team you’re going to be down, let alone against a good team.
“We lacked efficiency on offense. That was our biggest obstacle. Our poor offense created their offensive possessions.”
McCort junior guard Billy Hipp had 14 points and six rebounds while creating plays on both offense and defense.
Hipp set up his good friend Trexler for the historic 1,000 point. Hipp took possession in the defensive end, pushed the ball up the court and found Trexler in the paint.
Trexler drove to the hoop and made it 49-29 with his 17th point.
“Billy’s a really unselfish player and tonight it really showed,” Trexler said. “He even told me on the bench it was all about me and the focus was on me so he wanted to get me the ball. It means a lot to come from a teammate like Billy. Me and Billy have played together since first grade. My first basketball game was played with him.”
Trexler also had seven rebounds, three steals and two assists, frequently pleasing the large group of students and fans who chanted his name and held balloons of the fish Nemo made famous in the 2003 animated film “Finding Nemo.”
“He is a very athletic player who is very smart,” Burke said of Trexler. “If you double him, he looks to kick and gives the open guy the ball. He’s not a selfish player and that makes the team better.”
Juniors Matt Shaffer and Aaron Miller led Richland with 10 points apiece. Miller had seven boards. Ryan Ball finished strong with seven of his nine points in the final frame. The 6-foot-4 freshman also grabbed four boards.
Hollern noted the significance of Trexler’s big night.
“That’s the fastest player in McCort history to get to 1,000 points,” Hollern said. “Nemo just has a great scoring touch – a knack to score with the basketball. When the ball is in his hands, he has an absolute belief he is going to score. When he is doubled, he knows when to make the pass.”