Before she majored in Forestry at UVM or started up her skada Builders business, Kari Greenbaum used to draw double teams, break ankles, and make highlight play after highlight play for the Brattleboro Union High School varsity girls basketball team.
The talented point guard, who quarterbacked the Colonels from 1988-91, was also the first person I knew of to score 1,000 career points. At the time, that feat was about as impressive to me as reaching Level 50 on Pac-Man or being able to solve the Rubik's cube.
It wasn't until I started covering sports for newspapers that I got to actually see a player reach the milestone. I was able to witness a handful of game stoppages in central Massachusetts, followed by celebrations for Twin Valley's Scott Hayford and Devon Spirka, Springfield's Chelsea McAllister, and Hinsdale's Skylar Bonnette.
Seeing Spirka do it was a surprise, just because she was most known for "threading needles" and giving the ball up on 2-on-1 breaks. Hayford's accomplishment was more comical, since he had promised me he would do it on a dunk and even looked my way before attempting a slam. As for the other two sharpshooters, it was just a matter of time.
When I entered "the Stable" and sat down next to super fan Mikey Batts in the front row last month, I had no idea whether or not Matt Boggio would be able to get the 29 points that he needed.
The Hinsdale senior would score 13 points in the first quarter against Newport, including a couple of trifectas, a three-point play, a take, and two more made free throws. He went 4-for-4 from the line and scored on a strong drive up the gut over the next eight minutes, giving him 19 points at the intermission.
The fans were starting to believe that they would get to see the 11th person in school history make the list, joining former Pacers Gary Beaman, Sleepy Brooks, Steve Deschenes, Jason Dillon, Joe Sarsfield, Michael Kerylow, Larry Scott, Allison Scott, Julie Messenger, and Bonnette.
The senior guard would start the third quarter with a runner, later leak out ahead for a layup, and drain a 3 from the left corner to give himself 997 career points. And then came "the inbounds play" midway through the frame — the ball went from Joshua Webster to center Kyle Rideout and over to Boggio, who knocked down a trey from the wing with a defender in his face.
Even for a sportswriter, everything slows down at that point. Fans clap and scream. Teammates rush toward the shooter in slo-mo. There's a pile of players on the floor. The athletic director speaks to the crowd. And then comes a short photo session.
"It's like a big weight was lifted off my shoulders," said Boggio after the game. He had went 9-for-16 from the field on the evening, including four makes from downtown, and was a perfect 7-of-7 from the charity stripe.
After hearing about Greenbaum's special night 26 years earlier, I wasn't about to miss Boggio's individual achievement. And it was refreshing to hear the Hinsdale senior describe it as just that, and let me know that his team's success was his top priority.