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Earl reaches 1,000 in Eagles win

TURNERS FALLS — Jake Earl accomplished something no other player from Franklin County had ever done before.

Sure, when he drained a wide open 3-pointer from the right corner 42 seconds into the third quarter, he eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for his career, which is an accomplishment in and of itself.

But this came after he rushed for 1,000 yards for the school’s football team this past fall to become the first area player to pull of the grand feat of rushing for 1,000 yards in a single season and scoring 1,000 points in basketball for a career as he finished with 30 points on Friday night during the Eagles’ 64-41 victory over Pathfinder Vocational High School in a Tri-County League boys’ basketball game.

Earl entered the basketball season fresh off a 1,082-yard rushing performance for the Eagles’ football team, and needed 267 points to become the seventh player in Franklin Tech hoop history to reach 1,000. After averaging 22.7 points through the first 11 games this season, he entered Friday’s contest against the Pioneers just 17 points shy. Earl got off to a quick start, netting the game’s opening bucket with a 10-footer, and wound up scoring 8 points in the first quarter. He then scored another 7 through the first 3:30 of the second quarter, leaving him 2 shy. It looked like he might have it when he faked a 3-pointer to get his defender to leave his feet with four minutes to go in the quarter, and then drove the baseline for what appeared to be the layup he needed. Instead, he was fouled on the play, causing him to throw up an off-balance shot that spun around the rim and popped out. That sent him to the free throw line with his team already leading 31-12. With the team holding a lopsided lead, Earl stepped on the line prior to his first shot, causing him to lose one shot, which meant he no longer had the chance to score his 1,000th from the charity stripe. He knocked down the lone shot, leaving him one point shy.

That would be as close as he would get before halftime. Earl immediately went cold from the field, missing three straight shots before he finally went to the bench for the first time all game. While him and the rest of his teammates were struggling for the field, Pathfinder slowly crept back into the game and cut the deficit to nine points by halftime, 33-24.

The Eagles (4-8 overall, 3-4 TCL) came out in the second half and while Earl missed his first shot of the second half from downtown in the opening seconds, he got another chance and with 7:18 remaining he hit a 3-pointer to put him over the mark. The game was momentarily halted and Earl was presented with a basketball. Afterward, he praised his teammates for helping him get the mark.

“My teammates helped a ton,” he began. “They knew what I was going for and they helped me out.”

He acknowledged that part of the reason for his cold streak prior to scoring the point was due to nerves.

“I was nervous all day,” he said. “All day and all night.”

With that out of the way, the Eagles refocused on the game, opening up a lead that grew as big as 19 before Pathfinder got it back down to 14 entering the fourth quarter. The Eagles remained composed through the fourth and Pathfinder never threatened again.

Earl said that getting the win on his special night made the moment that much sweeter.

“That’s all I was looking for was the win,” he said.

Earl became the seventh player from the school to hit the mark, including the fourth boy, joining Tom Glabach (2009), Glenn Brozo (2005) and Tom Sadoski (1988). Earl now has 1,013 points for his career and needs 54 points to tie Glabach (1,067) for second all-time in scoring at the school. Former girls’ basketball player Alex Eaton is the all-time leader in scoring with 1,379 points, which she finished with when she graduated in 2007.

Earl nearly pulled off a triple-double on the night as he finished with 30 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. The Eagles had a huge night on the boards. Chris Wetherby finished with 19 rebounds to go with 15 points and three blocked shots, Gerald Richardson added 15 boards along with eight assists and 2 points, and Kyle Jarvis finished with 6 points and six assists.

Adam Cole led Pathfinder (2-9, 2-4) with 11 points.

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