ARCANUM – It was a senior night success for Arcanum and a record-setting night for a junior as well in the Trojans 64-56 win over New Bremen on Saturday.
Before the game, Arcanum recognized five senior basketball players – Isaiah Hootman, Wade Meeks, Zach Smith, Lane Byrne and Evan Atchley.
Arcanum got off to a good start in the game with Hootman scoring a triple and post players Byrne scoring 7 points and Smith 6 points in the opening frame to help the Trojans to a 19-8 first quarter lead.
Carter Gray entered the game midway of the first quarter and immediately added a triple that put the junior at 999 points for his career and the packed house on hand was waiting in anticipation of his next shot going down to eclipse 1,000 points.
Gray had a couple of good looks with shots barely missing. Each time you could feel a collective sigh from the crowd that was just ready to explode.
In the second quarter New Bremen was starting to get on track offensively and they cut the 11-point margin down to 4, trailing 22-18.
It was a perfect time for Gray to impact the game as the 6-foot-2 guard caught the ball with his feet already set just left of the top of the key and beyond the arch. He then pulled up and let fly a high soft shot, just over the outstretched hand of a Cardinal defender … it was all net, just like the young man has done so many times before in his career for points 1,000, 1,001 and 1,002.
Play was stopped on the next Trojan possession with Arcanum coach Jim Melton presenting Carter the game ball. Carter acknowledged the fans and then trotted across the court handed the ball to his dad Jim and embraced both he and his mom Cortney.
Gray added one more triple as Arcanum took a 37-26 lead into the break.
“We got off to a great start tonight,” Melton said. “It all started with Isaiah Hootman hitting that big 3 to start the game. It gave us a lot of energy and everybody fed off of that. It was great to see him do that. I’m really proud and happy he had that moment, it really did jump start the team and our crowd as well giving us tremendous energy.
“We also got tremendous play from two more seniors Zach Smith and Lane Byrne. Both rebounded the ball strong and scored the basketball well against an athletic and physical New Bremen team,” Melton praised. “Carter Gray then came in and made a couple of big 3’s and goes over 1,000 points and that was a special moment in the first half.”
All that in one half of basketball and yet there was more to come.
In the third quarter Gray opened with his fourth triple of the night, then his fifth moments later giving the Trojans the biggest lead of the game 43-26. In the process Carter set two school records – the most 3-pointers in a season now at 63 and counting. He eclipsed the season record of 62 held by him and current Superintendent and Arcanum Hall of Famer John Stephens. Gray upped his career 3-point total to 183 and counting, with another year left to play.
“Those 3-point records are the result of a lot of hard work. I’m happy for Carter, he’s worked really hard to get to where he’s at in his career, this is a special night for him and his family,” Melton applauded.
With all that had happened up to this point there was still plenty of basketball left to play.
Arcanum scored 15 points as a team in the third quarter with Meeks adding a triple and Smith scoring 6 more points in the paint. New Bremen hung tough adding 15 points as well to trail 52-41 heading into the final stanza.
New Bremen plays in the Midwest Athletic Conference and is used to playing good teams, they weren’t about to fold and in fact made a late charge on the Trojans bolstered by a number of long range 3-ball shots from well beyond 23 feet.
The Cardinals closed the gap to 62-56 due to a number of missed free throws late, but Gray sealed the deal with two free throws with 40 seconds left giving Arcanum the 64-56 win.
After the game coach Melton heaped praise on his team and their play.
“When we get in late game situation is nice to know we have great guards to the ball in their hands.
“Wade Meeks did a great job of handling their pressure, he is one tough customer to keep in front of you defensively and he can just about get in the lane on anybody and he helped distribute the ball to a lot of guys tonight,” Melton complimented.
“Jake Goubeaux is only a freshman, but has really developed well as the season has gone along and he had nice game tonight as well,” Melton admired.
“Senior Evan Atchley is the most improved player and is all over the place, very athletic and played super and had a big game for us,’ Melton praised.
“I’m just so proud of my five seniors and how well they all played tonight and how well all our kids performed, they play so hard for their hometown who I know appreciates what they’ve done,” Melton concluded.
There was much to appreciate on this night and the win by Arcanum helped them finish the regular season with a 14-8 overall record. Their 7-5 Cross County Conference record put them in a tie for fourth place with Bethel, Franklin-Monroe and Mississinawa Valley.
It was a big night for the seniors with Smith scoring 18 points and pulling down 12 rebounds. Byrne played strong with 7 points and 8 rebounds, Atchley added 9 points, Meeks 6 points and Hootman contributed 3 points in the win.
But the night still belonged to Gray with 17 points on five triples, eclipsing 1,000 points, 63 three-pointers in a single season and 183 so far in his career.
Carter was quick to give credit to others regarding his accomplishments.
“It’s definitely a big accomplishment reaching 1,000 points, but none of this is possible without my teammates and coaches putting me in a position to score the ball,” Carter said.
Carter’s father Jim came up just short of 1,000 points in his career and Carter was quick to note it feels good that he’s got bragging rights over his dad, but he also acknowledged he doesn’t have anything on his grandpa. He still has next year, so stay tuned to see what happens.
“Scoring points has become a family trait for the Gray’s. Carter’s grandpa Dave was a member of the Arcanum boys 1969 State Championship team and is an Ohio Legend in small school basketball scoring 45 points in a state semifinal game, a mark that still remains in the Ohio High School Athletic Association record book. Dave went on to achieve a stellar career at Earlham College where scored 2,323 points and hauled in 1,375 rebounds.
“My family means everything to me. They are always there to support me, take me places and do everything possible to let me do what I love every day,” Carter concluded.
Score by Quarters:
New Bremen – Tenilman 6, Roeterman 2, N. Wells 5, P. Wells 11, Bowers 5, Bornhorst 9, Heitkamp 2. Totals 8-15-2/6 – 56.
Arcanum – Hootman 3, Gray 17, Meeks 6, Atchley 9, Goubeaux 4, Smith 18, Byrne 7. Totals 8-15-10/16 – 64.