WILLOW HILL - After the first quarter of Monday night's boys basketball game, Fannett-Metal's fans were starting to sweat a bit.
The Tigers' top player, junior Mikell McGee, was hunting down a career milestone of 1,000 points, and he needed only 16 points to achieve it - less than half of his current season average.
But McGee managed only two points in the first quarter. He was 0-for-8 from the floor and 2-for-4 from the free-throw line.
"Here's the thing - it was achievable tonight, but he still had to score some buckets," F-M coach Greg Best said. "Coming into the game, I'm sure he was feeling the pressure, especially with all his family here to see the milestone. It didn't seem like he was shooting the ball, but rather he was pushing it."
It didn't get much better for McGee. He was 3-for-10 over the next two quarters and still needed six points heading into the final frame against Shalom Christian.
"My hands were sweating pretty bad, honestly," McGee said. "I felt a lot of pressure. But I once I just shook it off, it was better."
He shook it off in a big way. McGee nailed a pair of free throws, then cleaned up his own miss with a putback, bringing the countdown to just two.
"I just wanted to get it out of the way," McGee said. "Next time up the court, I knew I was going to pull up for a jump shot. I just hoped I got it."
McGee did just that. Midway through the final quarter, he hit a mid-range jumper to secure his 999th and 1,000th points. He finished the frame with 18 points alone and totaled a game-high 28 points, despite the Tigers losing 64-48.
"I told him to regroup and let the game come to him," Best said. "He had to keep shooting, but needed to let it come to him. It's a milestone, and a lot of kids' dream is to score 1,000 points. To do it in his junior year is a great accomplishment itself. He's done a lot of shooting since he was little."
With the mark, McGee will join two people extremely close to him on the F-M record boards. Both of McGee's parents - Tana McGee-Martin and Mike Freet - were 1,000-plus-point scorers at Fannett-Metal.
"That added even more pressure," Mikell said. "That was one of the biggest reasons I wanted to get it was because both of them did it, too. Once I finally got it, all I felt was relief."