Whether the Eastside Eagles’ boys basketball team would win this past Friday night against a Luella squad that is winless in region play was, perhaps, a foregone conclusion.
But the real buzz in the air for the Eagles’ hoops program was in the potential it had to celebrate a milestone for senior guard Keiodre Perry.
The 6-foot-4 combo guard reached the 1,000 career points club during Friday’s 80-67 region win over Luella. Coming into the night, Perry needed just 11 points to eclipse the milestone. He did it on a baseline floater midway through the second quarter that gave him 12 points for the game at that moment.
Perry finished with 25 points in the game, and after the fateful basket that pushed him over 1,000, Eastside coach Brent Wren called timeout to allow the team, staff and fans to celebrate Perry’s accomplishment together.
“I’m proud of his work ethic,” Wren said. “He’s one of those who’s in the gym whenever the gym is over. Him, Des (Dyer). They’re in the gym doing core workouts before practice. Two-a-days in the gym. Getting up thousands of shots. He’s a kid who really gets it and really wants it. He’s always just doing whatever he needs to do to become a better basketball player, and it’s showing out there.
Perry took pictures with coaches and staff while holding up a sign that commemorated his achievement during the time out. After the game he did the same with his parents. And though Perry expressed a desire to focus on the unfinished business of finishing his senior year strong, he allowed himself some moments to be grateful for his current success.
“It still really hasn’t sunk in yet, but I know I’ve really worked hard for it,” Perry said. “Only playing two full seasons of varsity basketball – it was tough, but I did it and I’m proud of myself for it.”
Earlier in the season Perry shared how some of his academic struggles earlier in his high school career kept him off the court more than he would’ve liked – particularly during his sophomore year. But pushing through that and being able to celebrate with a team he has called “family,” was the highlight of the moment for him.
“My teammates were very excited for me, and they wanted to see me do well,” Perry said. “So seeing their excitement really made it a special moment for me.”
Now the senior combo guard is ready to go full speed ahead in helping Eastside make a deep run in the region and state tournaments. With the win against Luella, the Eagles notched their third straight win.
“We were on a tough little stretch for a while, but we’re picking it back up,” he said. “I feel like we’ve gained momentum going into the playoffs, so this is all just a very good thing.”