Senior Marcus Swedberg is honored with a plaque and the game ball used to score his 1,000th point against Inter-Lakes on Feb. 8. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
February 13, 2012MOULTONBORO – With streamers raining down on the court around him, Marcus Swedberg couldn't help but smile. It was his night.
The Moultonboro Academy senior became the 10th player in school history to reach the 1,000 point mark on Feb. 8, as a jump shot from the free throw line with 4:16 left in the fourth quarter against arch-rival Inter-Lakes High School accounted for career points 1,000 and 1,001. Swedberg, who entered the night with 970 points, scored a career-high 31 in front of a packed house as the Panthers beat I-L, 61-29.
The game was halted after Swedberg's milestone shot, with athletic director Harry Blood presenting a plaque to honor the accomplishment. Swedberg received a standing ovation from the raucous crowd, before embracing his teammates and head coach/dad Matt Swedberg.
"I tried not to think about it," admitted Swedberg of the approaching target. "The whole time at school everyone was talking to me about. I just told them, 'don't jinx me, I'll be okay."
With the Lakers in town, Swedberg got off to a fast start, sinking a jumper for the game's opening points. Needing 30 points to reach the 1,000-point plateau, the big man knew it would take a huge effort offensively, as his previous career-high was 28.
"I knew what I needed going into the game," Swedberg admitted. "I thought, well we have Inter-Lakes, rivals, here, which is always great. But at the same time, if I didn't get it, then we have senior night next. But out of the two, it was great to get it tonight."
Swedberg kept it rolling in the first quarter, as he scored eight of his team's 13 points in the first frame, and followed that up with eight more in the second to give him 16 points at halftime.
"After the first quarter I was feeling pretty good," he explained. "I missed a few layups, I air-balled a terrible shot, but after that, it started flowing and it was nice. The first shot that I took, a little step back shot, I think I've started the past few games with that and if they fall in, okay, if they don't, time to move in a little bit."
They were falling for the majority of the night, and he upped the output with 11 more points in the third quarter, including a monster one-handed dunk after a steal near midcourt with 3:02 left in the period that gave his team a 38-18 advantage.
"Everybody's like, it's 'Dunk for a Cure' night, you have to get a dunk," Swedberg said with a laugh. "I mean, I can try and do that. I'll definitely put it in one of my (highlight) videos, I'll keep that one in."
Swedberg got to 999 with a pair of free throws with 5:07 left in the fourth quarter, setting the stage for his jumper from right at the foul line. Younger brother Drew assisted on the all-important basket, making for quite the fitting conclusion.
"That was the highlight of the year, there hasn't been a moment like that," said Drew. "You could feel it from the crowd as Marcus got closer and closer. We tried to stay away from him leading up to it, but we were all talking about it. He put on a clinic tonight, it was awesome."
Head coach Matt Swedberg, who graduated from MA in 1987, is no stranger to the school's 1,000-point club, as his 1,722 points put him at the top of the scoring list.
"The guys were looking for him but they weren't forcing it to him," explained the coach. "We had some transition baskets, Nick (Sindorf) had a great game inside feeding off when Marcus got double-teamed. We weren't forcing the ball to Marcus…a lot of times when you see 1,000 points, you see guys struggling with it, you see the team trying to force him the ball. All in all it worked really well, it was fun to see the guys execute."
Seeing his son join the 1,000-point club was special for the elder Swedberg.
"It was nice, definitely nice," he said. "I don't think he's ever had a 30-point game. The last couple games he's been shooting really well so after the first little bit, I kind of looked at it like, maybe (he'll get to 1,000). He had good elevation with his shot, played within the offense."
Swedberg becomes the first player to reach 1,000 points since 2009, when Kevin Eisenberg (1,231) and Drew Forsberg (1,077) joined the club. Phil Cowels (1,084) reached the mark in 2006.
"I went through three of them before watching those guys play," Marcus said of Eisenberg, Forsberg and Cowels. "That's just always what I wanted."