PELHAM, N.H. — It takes a special player to achieve a milestone. Hard work and talent can go a long way. Justin Hojlo took that talent to a milestone that Pelham High has only seen seven times previously.
One thousand career points. The impressive part is that he is only a junior.
"It takes a very special young man to achieve this," Pythons head coach Todd Kress said.
Hojlo, who scored a game-high 25 points, reached the milestone five games sooner than former Pelham great James Roman, who holds the school record with 1,681 points.
"James is the greatest player I know," said Hojlo, holding a "Hojlo 1,000" that a fan gave him. "It means a lot to get here."
He and Roman are neighbors and played on the state champion team in 2006, along with Justin's brother, Frank, a standout point guard who was also class valedictorian.
"Justin looked up to Roman and his older brother Frankie," Frank Hojlo, Justin's father, said after the game. "Everyone on that state champion team lived in the same neighborhood. Eight of the kids lived in the neighborhood."
Only needing 11 points to reach the milestone coming into the game last night, everyone was on edge to watch history made. Every time Justin made a basket, the crowd roared.
Hojlo started off strong, knocking down three 3-pointers early. Then, with 2:05 left in the first half, driving off double coverage under the hoop, he launched a jumper to cap his milestone, sending the crowd into a frenzy.
At halftime, Hojlo, who hiked his scoring average to 21.1 points a game, was presented with a game ball by his father, mother, and older brother Frank. The ball that will remind him for years to come what he accomplished.
Pelham controlled most of the game. Leading 34-23 at the half, Pelham seemed in control. Bow came back late in the fourth quarter to make the game interesting in the end, getting within two points with a minute to go. Fittingly, Hojlo was clutch at the free throw line to clinch it.
Although Hojlo, a 5-10 guard, again was high scorer, he cares about more than just scoring.
"Justin told his teammates before the game that we need to worry about Bow," Kress said. "He is very unselfish."
The win for Pelham is its ninth in a row.
Pelham 62, Bow 59
Bow (59): Hill 3-1-7, Fellows 1-0-3, Chergey 8-3-20, Poitras 2-2-6, Simpson 1-2-4, Rush 1-0-2, Sarette 4-3-13, Heindl 1-2-4. Totals 21-13-59
Pelham (62): Costa 4-0-9, Hebert 3-0-7, Spirou 5-0-10, Hojlo 8-6-25, Vaiknoras 5-0-10, Cove 1-0-2, Tryon 0-0-0, Trainor 0-0-0, McColgan 0-0-0. Totals 26-6-62
3-pointers: P — Hojlo 3, Costa, Hebert; B — Sarette 2, Chergey, Fellows
Bow (6-6): 12 11 15 21 — 59
Pelham (12-3): 21 13 15 13 — 62