ST. MARYS — Garet Fledderjohann wasn’t content to just score his 1,000th point in his next-to-last home game at Memorial High School. The St. Marys senior guard put on a fourth-quarter display that had an entire gymnasium gawking during the Riders’ 60-52 loss to Van Wert on Friday night.
Fledderjohann became just the fourth Roughrider boys basketball player to score 1,000 points in a career with 7:56 left in the fourth quarter with a free throw. Fledderjohann then went on to score 40 points – with 26 of those points coming in the fourth quarter on 7-for-10 shooting.
“I’ve always wanted to score 1,000 points and I’m happy to get it out of the way,” Fledderjohann said. “Everybody’s been talking about it. I was nervous all day because everybody kept texting me about it. It was a relief....I always wanted to make my mark on St. Marys basketball.”
With the hoopla over hitting the millenium mark behind him, Fledderjohann became a one-man scoring machine, knocking down contested 3-pointers and long, acrobatic jumpers and flying around the floor with a smile on his face most of the time.
“Once I got going, everything felt good,” Fledderjohann said. “I didn’t think I’d hit 40 points. I was just trying to get us a win.”
Van Wert head coach Dave Froelich after one such circus shot simply turned to St. Marys head coach Dan Hegemier along the sideline, smiled and shrugged his shoulders.
“We’ve played against a lot of good players,” said Froelich, whose team snapped a five-game losing streak. “I’m talking Jamar Butler, Jon Diebler, William Buford, the Pollitz twins, Aaron Hutchins. We’ve played against a lot of good players. That’s as good of an individual offensive performance that I’ve ever witnessed sitting on the other bench. Some of those shots, he wasn’t even looking at the basket when he went up. I’m not sure he hit the rim. God bless him, that was unbelieveable.”
Hegemier has watched his point guard mature from a 3-point hoisting freshman to a full-fledged offensive threat over the past four seasons.
“Garet showed a lot of heart and never quit when things went down,” Hegemier said. “He had two or three guys on him. I’ve been doing this a while. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a kid that has had to do so much for us. I’m just very proud of him. I’m very proud to coach Garet. He deserves everything he gets.”
St. Marys slipped to 6-14and 1-7 in the WBL. The Riders go to Sidney Lehman Catholic on Tuesday night.
Fledderjohann’s 40 points is tied for the second-most points in a game in Memorial High School history, tying him with Wes Clark and Adam Johns. Johns also scored 40 points in the game he reached his 1,000th point against St. Henry in 2007. Clark’s 40 point night came against Jon Diebler’s Upper Sandusky squad in a regional semifinal game. Only Dave Williams’ 43-point performance against Van Wert during the 1964-1965 season was more prolific in St. Marys history. Williams went on to be a diver at USC.
Fledderjohann was hugged by the players on the floor when he made his 1,000th point. The game was stopped and the Rider senior was congratulated by both coaches. Hegemier flipped the game ball to Fledderjohann’s family sitting just behind the scorer’s table.
Fledderjohann passed Scott Vossler, who scored 996 points and was in fourth place on the scoring list. Vossler went on to play football at the University of Dayton in the mid-2000s. Fledderjohann is now 43 points behind No. 3 on the scoring list, Adam Johns. Johns went on to play collegiately for Capital University.
Fledderjohann scored 26 of St. Marys’ 28 fourth-quarter points and nearly brought the Riders back from a 15 point deficit to start the fourth quarter. The Roughriders just couldn’t make enough free throws to make the comeback stick. St. Marys went 16-of-29 at the charity stripe.
“You’ve got to make’em,” Hegemier said.
Van Wert had four players in double figures. A.J. Smith his his averages with 15 points, Matt Bidlack scored 13, while Nathan Stoller and Conner Holiday each scored 11 points.
Van Wert improved to 10-10 and 3-5 in the WBL.