Nick Miles envisioned something dramatic for his record-setting points. A buzzer-beater. Maybe a driving and-one layup.
Anything but a free throw.
But when Miles stood one point away from becoming Sherwood boys basketball’s all-time leading scorer Jan. 19 at Leeton, he also stood at the free-throw line.
“I didn’t want it to be a free throw,” Miles said. “That’s what my 1,000th point was. I was hoping it would be a jump shot or a three or something.”
Still, Miles couldn’t be too disappointed, even if the dramatic moment lacked for drama.
Miles sank the first free throw to tie the record then swished the second to break it and touch off a twice-delayed celebration.
With 1,862 career points, Miles had eclipsed the 1,861 tallied by Travis Salmon, a 1991 graduate.
Miles, a 5-foot-9 senior guard, could have set the mark when he powered past two Leeton players in the lane midway through the third quarter, but he was fouled as he went to the basket and didn’t make the shot.
As soon as he made his second free throw, he found himself surrounded by teammates and family during a short ceremony in the middle of the jam-packed gym.
Sherwood coach Preston Steinhoff presented Miles with a commemorative game ball and his brother, Jon, gave him a poster listing Sherwood’s top-five all-time scorers. Jon Miles is No. 5 on that list.
Salmon, who went on to play for UMKC, had planned on being on hand to see his record broken, but his son was playing in a tournament that night.
“I was going to make the free throw,” Miles said. “I wasn’t going to miss on purpose or anything. It was awesome, especially for it being an away game, having everybody there.”
Miles expected to set the record at home when he was 10 points shy before the Marksmen were scheduled to host Drexel on Jan. 11, but wintry weather postponed that game. Weather also pushed back Sherwood’s next game, a home contest against Van Horn on Jan. 16.
So, Miles was good and ready to get the record at Leeton, which was celebrating homecoming and its own 1,000-point scorer.
Steinhoff thought Miles would have the record by halftime, but Miles, who averages 24 points a game, only had six at intermission as he uncharacteristically struggled to find his shot.
“I think I was just nervous,” Miles said. “Nothing can really prepare you for that.”
That changed after the record was his. Miles finished with 25 points, including 19 in the second half.
After Leeton made a three-pointer in the final 30 seconds for a one-point lead, Miles scored the Marksmen’s final two points in a 49-48 victory — on two more free throws after another drive to the basket.
“Once he broke that record, there seemed to be a weight lifted not only off his shoulders, but the rest of their shoulders,” Steinhoff said. “The whole team got amped up and really started to play really well from there on.”
Miles added, “Me and my teammates felt so much better after it was over with. We started playing the game we knew how to play.”
The scoring record is just the latest accomplishment for Miles.
He’s a three-time All-District and All-Crossroads Conference player, who averaged 28.5 points per game as a junior. He stood at 1,877 career points before the Marksmen (7-4) opened the Crest Ridge Tournament on Jan. 23 with 66-39 win versus Northwest (Hughesville, Mo.) High School.
Sherwood, which is located in Creighton, also played host Crest Ridge on Thursday night in the tourney semifinals.
“It’s a great accomplishment,” Miles said. “I’m thankful for it. It’s been fun.”
Steinhoff was just happy to see Miles rewarded for all his hard work, even if the reward was less then dramatic.
“It couldn’t have happened to a better kid,” Steinhoff said. “This moment just speaks volumes to how many hours he put in towards this game, his dedication and his work ethic. That’s what it meant the most to me.”