Fifteen feet stood between Tom Jakubowski and history.
At the foul line after getting hacked on a layup against Holy Cross Saturday, the senior had to only loft up an easy shot to stake his place on the all-time scoring list and become just the 10th Eagle in school history to notch 1,000 career points.
In the moment, all Jakubowski was high-five his teammates and crack a smile toward the thundering crowd, before everything—including his second free throw—was put on hold to celebrate the achievement.
“It was just a great moment to share with my teammates, my family and all the fans,” Jakubowski, with the game ball tucked safely under one arm, said afterward. “I was hoping the layup would drop, but oh well.”
Head coach Don Clark, who saw Jakubowski come into the program as a sophomore, in what was a down time for the program, said Jakubowski’s work ethic and leadership set him apart, and his athleticism made the achievement possible.
“If there’s anybody you want to do it, it’s him,” Clark said.
It took a while for Jakubowski to get things going—not least because he was smothered most of the first half by Holy Cross speedster Lloyd Smith.
The frustration was evident on the senior’s face as he crashed across the baseline after one miss, but eventually, the shots started to fall.
Jakubowski broke his early drought by burying a jumper from the left side with 1:42 left to play in the first half, and added six more points in the third on two buckets and a pair of free throws.
And by the middle of the fourth quarter, with the mark still a couple baskets away, his teammates were making every effort to get Jakubowski the ball.
Tim Fair pulled up on an easy breakaway to pass it off, Justin Hansen gave up a few shots, and Kyle Redrow and Ryan Flaherty turned into assist machines.
“You could see the kids pull for him,” Clark said. “That means more than anything. It’s a real credit to Tommy.”
Jakubowski recognized the selflessness of his teammates, and said there was no way he could’ve reached 1,000 without them.
“I did what I could, and my teammates—I thank them for everything—they got me here,” he said.
Reaching the 1,000-point plateau is perhaps more impressive for Jakubowski, the rare three-sport athlete—he’s a wide receiver on the football team and a key figure on the baseball team—in an era where more high school players are focusing on one or two sports.
“It just feels great that I can be a part of everything,” he said. “I never get tired of one, because I’m never just playing one all year round.”
Clark said he’s glad to see Jakubowski trying to accomplish as much as possible, rather than leaving high school with what-ifs behind him.
“I’m hoping the other kids look at that as an example,” Clark said.
And as family and friends milled about the court more than 15 minutes after the final horn sounded, giving Jakubowski the chance to take in what he’d just done, there was no question in the coach’s mind that this particular accomplishment would live on.
“This is what it’s about,” Clark said.