PROCTORVILLE, Ohio — With a little more than two minutes left in the second period Friday night, Fairland boys basketball player Evan Salyers put up a short jumper from the lane. The ball hit off the rim, then the glass and thanks to a kind roll dropped through the basket for the biggest bucket of his career.
At that moment -- 2: 17 was showing on the game clock -- play stopped and Fairland and River Valley fans stood to honor Salyers, who just went over 1,000 points. The senior received the game ball and his parents, Becky and David, joined him at midcourt for pictures to celebrate the milestone.
Vocal students standing together in the Fairland cheering section behind the bench had a huge picture of Salyers on a stick with signatures on the back. The 1,000-point cards went up proudly when that basket dropped and made it official.
"It's a great honor," Salyers said before heading to the school cafeteria to enjoy cake with family and friends. "They (parents) got me here. All the people I've played with makes this special."
Salyers needed 15 points to reach 1,000 and 10 rebounds to reach 500 for his career. He finished with 24 points and grabbed career rebound No. 500 with 2:22 to play in the third period. Dragons coach Nathan Speed removed the man of the hour at that point, who then cheered his teammates on to a 59-40 victory over the Raiders.
He became the seventh player in school history to score 1,000 points, the sixth to get 500 rebounds and only the fourth to register the career double-double.
"It's special to me because I know what kind of person he is," Speed said. "He's the kind of kid you root for."
After the game, Salyers took time to sign the 1,000-point cards the students and young fans had in their possession.
"I thought that ball was going to roll out," Salyers said of the signature basket. "It dropped in and I did that fist pump. It was my night."
With 2:58 left in the first period, Salyers picked up his second foul and Speed sat him down.
"I was too eager," he said.
"I just wanted him to settle down," Speed said.
Each time down the floor, Salyers saw his teammates try to get him the ball inside. When they couldn't he crashed the boards and got a put-back after an offensive rebound.
"I tried to play it like another game, but I knew they were going to try and get me the ball," Salyers said.
"We wanted to get him the ball and get it over with as quick as possible," Speed said. "We wanted everyone to stay in the flow."
In addition to basketball and school, Salyers spends time helping youth in the community.
"Evan's the perfect model of a high school student-athlete," Speed said. "Even with all the individual recognition he's earned, Evan's still the ultimate team player."
Salyers said he'll find a place at home to hang the huge picture. He also got a kick out of signing the 1,000-point cards.
"Little kids ran up to me to get me to sign (the cards)," Salyers. "That meant a lot."
Fairland's off until next Friday when Chesapeake visits for the big Ohio Valley Conference rematch. The Panthers are 2-0 agains the Dragons this season, winning at home and in the Gold Bracket finals in the Huntington St. Joe Invitational.
RIVER VALLEY 6 8 13 13 -- 40: Flint 4 1-2 10, Bays 2 0-0 4, Clemente 1 1-2 3, Noble 1 0-0 2, Harrison 1 0-0 2, Lewis 3 2-3 8, Loyd 3 1-1 9. Totals: 16 5-8 40.
FAIRLAND 17 19 16 7 -- 59: Flynn 1 0-0 2, Midkiff 3 1-2 9, J. Warner 1 0-0 3, Riley 1 0-0 2, Raines 1 0-0 2, Maddox 6 1-2 13, Fuller 1 0-2 2, Campbell 1 0-0 2, Salyers 10 4-4 24. Totals: 25 6-10 59.
Three-point baskets: RV 3 (Flint, Loyd 2); Fairland 3 (Midkiff 2, J. Warner).