Highlands' Mason surpasses 2,000-point plateau
TribLIVE Sports Videos
It took a little longer than some expected for Highlands' Micah Mason to reach the career 2,000-point mark, but the Highlands senior point guard is only human.
And milestones like this one rarely come easy.
Especially when your jersey is being pulled, your ribs are getting elbowed, and you're being boxed in by defenders who seem to be acting like mimes.
"It's such an unorthodox season for us because teams are willing to give up something to put extra guys on Micah," Highlands coach Shawn Bennis said.
Junk defenses have tried to limit Mason's charge toward the milestone, but the point guard has patiently fired away, while trying to keep his team in the playoff chase.
The 6-foot-2 Mason faces double and sometimes, triple-teams just about every game.
"I hate them," Mason said of the defensive schemes. "It gets frustrating, even though you know it's coming. I wish someone would just play me man (-to-man)."
But finally, the milestone came.
Fittingly, Mason's historic hoop came on a 3-pointer, at the 4:01 mark of the first quarter, from the top-right of the key, in front of the home fans during Highlands' only Friday night home game of the season.
He needed seven points, and got the milestone over early in a 62-41 victory over Burrell in Section 1-AAA play.
Mason finished with 31 and now has 2,024 points, moving him into 24th place on the WPIAL scoring list.
Some might have associated the number 2,000 with Mason's basketball-shoe collection. But on this night, when fans wore T-shirts that read, "Witness," on the front, and "Micah Mason 2,000 points" on the back, the long-bombing Mason was celebrated for his prolific scoring.
"It feels good to get (the milestone) off my back," Mason said. "It was cool to get it on a 3 because I love to shoot them. I was hoping I'd get it that way or on a wide-open layup."
Which he had, but went with a soft lay-in over a dunk.
"I can (dunk), I just didn't want to," he said. "It's such an honor to be on that scoring list with so many great athletes."
Now, the historical significance.
Mason became the second boys player in Alle-Kiski Valley history to score 2,000, joining Valley legend Tom Pipkins, who scored 2,838 points in the early 1990s and still sits atop the WPIAL scoring list.
Like Mason with his 3, the high-flying Pipkins broke the WPIAL record on a dunk.
Mason is the first WPIAL player to reach the milestone since Chartiers Valley's T.J. McConnell in 2010.
"The kid has a lot on his plate," Bennis said of Mason. "There's the 2,000 thing, there's the 3-pointers' thing, there's the team not playing as well as it has in the past, and there's the Drake University thing next year. To get (the milestone), it's one thing gone off the list."
Burrell tried a 1-3 zone with a chaser on Mason, but it couldn't stop him from scoring 20 points in the second half to help Highlands (6-9, 4-4) fend off a Burrell run.
The Bucs (8-7, 2-6) cut a 21-point deficit to nine early in the fourth quarter (45-36), as Kyle Legters and Alex White hit back-to-back 3-pointers to fuel a 13-0 run.
But Mason hit two of his five 3-pointers to push the lead back to double figures, and Highlands rolled.
"You have to give credit to Micah," Burrell coach Rob Niederberger said. "He is one of the best players I have coached against -- definitely the best shooter."
Mason, featured in Sports Illustrated last season following his teeming 64-point game against Valley, is also chasing the WPIAL's all-time mark for career 3-pointers made. McConnell holds the record with 334. Mason now has 313.
After the game, when he emerged from Highlands' downstairs locker room, Mason was greeted by several young children, clad in Mason T-shirts, seeking autographs. He politely asked around if anyone had a Sharpie.
"Micah earns every accolade he gets," Bennis said. "He's is a great basketball player, but an even better human being."
Highlands got a strong effort from 6-3 senior forward Tyler Szymkiewicz, who had a season-high 16 points.
Highlands hit nine 3-pointers.
White led Burrell with 17 points, with 13 coming in the first half.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Aliquippa wins 16th WPIAL title, ends South Fayette’s 44-game winning streak
- Steelers find success vs. NFC
- Gorman: Central’s Wheeler ‘made the play we needed’
- Man, 19, wounded in Brighton Heights shooting
- Zatkoff’s, Malkin’s heroics not enough as Oilers down Penguins in shootout
- Penn State notebook: Franklin maps out plan to join Big Ten elite
- Four downs: Steelers might still be Adams’ best bet
- Batteries key to alternative energy’s success
- Drones hover at top of holiday wish lists
- As historic breakup nears, Alcoa works to redefine its ‘advantage’
- WPIAL Class AA notes: South Fayette’s Saxton sets WPIAL finals record