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Tilton, NH – Under the circumstances the celebration was understandably subdued; just a long string of enthusiastic applause from his teammates.
After the boys’ basketball Spartans fell to the Tilton Rams, 69-65, in a NEPSAC quarterfinal match up, Head Coach Kris Johnson lauded an emotional junior forward Joey Luchetti, whose performance put him over the 1000-point mark for his career at LA and incited the impromptu acclamation.
“Joey's just a competitor; it's that simple,” said Coach Johnson, post game. “He's tough, he wants to do really well, and he cares about his craft.”
Luchetti, who is also a standout on LA's varsity football team, is the first boy to reach the much heralded-mark since Merrimack College's Kyle Howes ‘14 (during the 2013-2014 season) and, according to Assistant Coach Kevin Wiercinski, is the fastest to 1000 since former Spartan basketball star Shabazz Napier (UConn, Portland Trail Blazers).
“It just shows that hard work pays off,” said Luchetti, speaking with mixed emotions, just outside the quiet visitors' locker room in New Hampshire. “I'm happy, and humbled, to score my 1,000th point.”
However, true to form, Luchetti was quick to pivot and point out the resilience of his teammates, adding, “We didn’t fold; we just kept on fighting.”
Speaking to his team, who were disappointed in the loss of a very close game with a perennial powerhouse, Coach Johnson implored the players to continue the hard work -- the work that they put in during a very successful 20-10 (11-4 ISL) AA season -- in the off season.
Thankfully, for an example of a player who’s willing to do the work on and off the court, the Spartans need not look past number-32.
“There's no way you go into a game or practice saying he's not going to bring it every day,” said Coach Johnson. “He's a guy that brings it every day, and that's why he's so good."