Scoring records are hard to come by at Nokomis High School. Va'Nicia Waterman has held the girls basketball record with 2,384 points since 2001. It had been even more time on the boys' side, with Mike Havera's record of 1,859 dating back to 1997. And Rick Brueckner had the record before that, setting it in 1965 with 1,701 points, a mark that stood for 32 years before Havera took the crown.
So you'll have to excuse Carter Sabol if Tuesday's game against Gateway Legacy at the 2020 Rick McGraw Memorial Invitational wasn't just another game for the Nokomis senior.
" I don't really get that nervous, but I think I was more nervous for this one than for a regular game," Sabol said.
While that may be, Sabol looked calm, cool and collected as he stood at the free-throw line with 2:49 left in the third quarter. Moments earlier, Sabol had made the second of two chances from the charity stripe to score point number 1,859 and tie Havera's 23-year-old record.
This time, the 6'8" forward hit the first one, setting off a standing ovation from the Nokomis faithful, including Havera, who stepped away from his role as an assistant coach at Taylorville (playing just down the hall at Litchfield tournament) to be there for the historic moment.
"It was huge. I know he was such a great player," Sabol said of having Havera in the gym for the record. "It was pretty exhilarating. To have that accomplishment, it feels great."
Sabol would go on to score 17 more points before all was said and done, finishing with a career-best 38 and leading the Redskins to a 54-49 win and a berth in the first place bracket at Litchfield.
After the game, the two Redskin greats were on the floor together, where Havera presented Sabol with the game ball.
" I was glad that I could make it. I knew it would happen eventually and I'm glad it's the Sabol family," said Havera, who grew up with Carter's mom, Erin (Detmers) Sabol and his uncle Kris Detmers in Coalton. "His uncle Kris was beating on me and making me the player I was. To see the record happen with such a good kid as Carter is great."
Now Christian County's State's Attorney in addition to his work with the Tornadoes, Havera said that he knew this day would come someday, but didn't talk about it with Sabol, not wanting to jinx anything.
"When I broke the record, it happened so quick. You're playing as hard as you can and it just happens," said Havera, whose point total was also the most for any boys player in Montgomery County. "You know that someday, someone else is going to beat it. It was Rick Brueckner that I beat for that title. He was a family friend and kind of said the same thing, that records are meant to be broken."
Just how tough it will be for someone to break Sabol's record still remains to be seen. Sitting at 1,877 points, Sabol has 11 more regular season games, plus the postseason still to come. He's currently averaging 21.2 points per game and if all goes well, Sabol should become the first boys basketball player from Montgomery County to top the 2,000 point mark.
That would put Sabol in the top 150 in scoring, and maybe top 100, for IHSA boys basketball. Rarefied air indeed, but Sabol is used to following in the footsteps of legends.