Mark Wise was a WPIAL and PIAA champion while playing basketball for Washington High School in the 1980s, but he finished 16 points shy of 1,000 for his career.
This past Friday, however, Wise was able to celebrate such an impressive accomplishment, even if it wasn’t his own.
Mark Wise’s son, Josh, drained a 3-pointer from the left wing in the third quarter of a 69-44 win at Fort Cherry to become the first in his family to reach the 1,000-point plateau.
The Prexies’ senior scorer was, coincidentally, one of two area players to get to 1,000 career points Friday night – California’s Brian Fisher was the other – and he celebrated with an emotional embrace from his dad.
“He just came up to me, gave me a hug, and told me, ‘I’m proud of you,’” Josh Wise said. “That meant a lot.”
Bet it did.
And for more than becoming the first Wise to reach 1,000 points.
Both Wise and Fisher, in separate conversations, admitted that the chase for 1,000 wasn’t easy. That, at times, it could almost seem a bit burdensome.
When will it happen? Dude, you have to call me, make sure I’m there. Can you do it Friday, I can’t make it next week.
Wise and Fisher also made sure to acknowledge that they have had no reason to complain, that it was a good problem to have.
“I just tried to enjoy it,” said Fisher, who reached the milestone during the Trojans’ 84-61 win over Bentworth Friday night. “I like the attention, but after a while, I did just want to get it over with.
I asked Wise, who was celebrating at Applebee’s that night with a few friends, whether he had been carrying this around in his head all season.
Turns out that estimate was a bit on the conservative side.
“It’s been on my mind since last year,” said Wise, who averaged an area-best 20.3 points per game last season. “That’s all I’ve been hearing about – hey, you’re supposed to get to 1,000. It’s good to say that I finally have it now.”
Fisher said all week he was reminded that he was 12 points away, so agonizingly close that the senior guard could’ve simply made one free throw per game through the rest of the season and still reached the mark.
Not that anyone would’ve wanted that, considering Wise and Fisher each average more than 20 points per game, each in the area’s top five.
But they aren’t just scorers, either. Both thrive on making their teammates better – Wise with Billy Edwards, Jaylin Kelly and a host of others, Fisher with backcourt mate Tanner Huffman and fellow senior Evan Patterson.
It’s one of the primary reasons Wash High is 10-1, California 9-1, and neither has lost a section game.
Still, the need to facilitate and the desire to score can be a tough balance to strike.
“Every shot you take you think, ‘I’m one shot closer, I’m one shot closer,’” Wise said. “But at the same time, you have to go out and get your teammates open.”
Ironically, both did it in the third quarter. On 3-pointers, no less. Wise from the left wing, Fisher from the right.
The only difference was that while Wise admitted he knew when his shot went down that he had 1,000, Fisher claims he didn’t know he reached it until he heard his coach scream on the sideline.
Regardless, those magical shots give this area four 1,000-point scorers this season after Fisher’s teammate, Tanner Huffman, reached 1,000 with 26 during a 69-62 loss to Steel Valley Dec. 28, and Carmichaels senior Morgan Berardi did it with 18 in a 48-35 victory over Charleroi Dec. 21.
Think about that for second: For an area that sometimes takes it on the chin when it comes to the quality-of-basketball argument, to have four players reach 1,000 points in one season is impressive.
It’s an honor that nobody around here should complain about having to carry around.
Sports writer Jason Mackey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.