EVERETT — When Robert Wallace started playing basketball at Lynn Tech, Tigers coach Stevie Patrick knew he was a special talent and capable of scoring 1,000 career points in his career.
Wallace made that a reality Wednesday night, surpassing 1,000 points with a 27-point performance in a 57-49 loss at Pope John.
“I’m extremely proud of Robert,” Patrick said. “I’ve had him since he was a freshman and I told him then that he could score 1,000. That was before he even played a varsity minute. I just saw his talent and it really came to light.”
Wallace overcame adversity on his way to the milestone, including a foot injury this season.
“Since freshman year coach has been telling me I could get here,” Wallace said. “I played all three levels and he told me that I could get to 1,000. It really feels amazing to finally reach it. I worked so hard. I know playing on an injured foot and missing some of the season people didn’t think I was going to do but I just pushed myself here. I’m excited I finally got it.”
Wallace was quick to thank the support he has received from family and teammates.
“I had some great support from teammates and family,” Wallace said. “Everyone supported me since freshman year and had my back. They came to every game and told me that when the day came they were going to be here no matter what. Even if I didn’t hit it they said they said they would celebrate with me. It’s great to share this with everyone.”
Patrick has seen Wallace come a long way since he started coaching him and believes the senior captain could continue his basketball career at the next level.
“It’s been awesome to see him grow as a player,” Patrick said. “I’m trying to get him into school now. I played Division I college basketball, I feel like he’s not quite Division I because of his size, but he is definitely a scholarship player because of his motor and his grades. He’s an A and B student. I’ve been looking at Wentworth for him. I’ve been reaching out talking to the coach. The coach likes him and likes his attitude and hopefully we can go for a visit.”
Despite Wallace’s milestone night the Tigers fell in a back-and-forth game.
Wallace also hauled in 10 rebounds while Quasim Abellard added eight points and 12 rebounds. Amari Gaston scored eight points.
The Tigers took a one-point lead into the half before a second half full of lead changes. The third quarter saw four lead changes in the first few minutes before Wallace’s 1,000th point came on a layup with 2:47 remaining in the quarter to put Tech ahead 39-36.
But Pope John battled back to take a one-point lead into the fourth. Midway through the fourth quarter, Pope John took over the game by claiming a 10-point lead with two minutes remaining. The Tigers struggled at the line in the closing minutes and committed a few costly turnovers that prevented them from coming back.
“I thought it was a really good game,” Patrick said. “I think we just gave it to them in the end. It’s indicative to the way we have played all year, being in games and giving them away at the end. Just simple turnovers that we talk about. But we had fun, Rob scored 1,000 so it would have been nice to win today but we couldn’t pull it out. I’m still proud of my guys effort. That’s a good team, they were Division 4 champions last year.”
Tech closes its season Friday (5:30) at Chelsea.