It’s much easier to reach 1,000 points in today’s game of high school basketball

Four more high school basketball players in Maine hit the 1,000-point career scoring milestone over the last two weeks.

It used to be a rare feat in Maine basketball to reach that milestone as there were very few 1,000 point scorers in high school or college prior to 1963.

The main reason for this is minutes played in the game. The clock only stopped on timeouts, jump balls and fouls prior to 1963. Now the clock stops on every whistle, so teams get to play a full 32 minutes in high school and 40 in college.  In the old system, playing time usually translated to approximately 24 minutes in high school games and 30 for college.

Today’s time stoppage adds about five more games of playing time if a team makes it through to the state game or four if a team does not make the playoffs.

Another factor allowing for even more 1,000-point scorers was the addition of the 3-point shot in 1987 for high school and the early 1980s for colleges.

Today’s teams also play more zone defense, which allows for more open looks for 3-point shots. Additionally, man-to-man defense is not played as well at the high school level.

One problem with counting career points is that there are no universal guidelines in the state for determining which games should be included. Some schools only count regular season, playoff prelims and tourney games, while others include preseason and exhibition games.

The Maine Principals’ Association does not recognize any scoring records for the regular season. The only records the Maine Principals’ Association keeps are from the postseason: prelims, tourney games and state finals. These records are listed in the Class A, B, C and D tourney programs.

All other scoring records are by individual schools and are unofficial.

Players in smaller schools, Classes C and D, have a better chance to score 1,000 points. They may play on the varsity teams as freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors because, with the lower enrollments, there are fewer players with the same talent level, while there are more in Classes A and B, where many players will only play on the varsity during their junior and senior seasons.

The most games a player can play in Maine Principals’ Association sanctioned games is 23: 18 regular season games, one prelim, three tournament games and one state final.

While scoring 1,000 points is a noteworthy milestone, if a player gets 1,000 assists for a career, that would really be something to brag about. Many times, it is much harder to create the shot than it is to make the shot in the game of basketball.

If a player reaches 1,000 assists or rebounds for a career, those would be other valuable records.

The next time you see a high school player has scored 1,000 points, look at how many games it took the player to reach that milestone and remember that these records are unofficial and only count for the individual school.

Note: Sports editor Joe McLaughlin is assisting with topics for my column. Send ideas to him at: