VAN BUREN, Maine — Jacob Rioux spends a lot of time during the school day talking basketball with his cousin.
And that’s a pretty good source of information on the topic, given that fellow Van Buren High School senior Parise Rossignol ranks among the state’s career scoring leaders after recently eclipsing her coach and father Matt Rossignol’s school record of 2,257 points.
“We talk all the time,” said Rioux. “We have pretty much every class together.”
Rioux, a first-year player at Van Buren after spending the last three years at Hermon High School, etched his name into the Crusaders’ record book Thursday night by scoring 57 points during a 74-51 victory over visiting Madawaska.
“It was pretty good,” he said. “I was hitting my shots early and it went from there.”
Rioux made 19 field goals overall, including 11 from beyond the 3-point arc to go with eight free throws in breaking Alan Madore’s previous Van Buren single-game scoring record of 54 points set in 1986.
Rioux made five 3-pointers in the first quarter alone and added four more 3-pointers during the second period en route to a 32-point first half.
“He was just on fire and started off shooting real well,” said Van Buren boys basketball coach Steve LaPierre after the game. “He started knocking down threes early in the game and finished off with penetration field goals and free throws.”
Rioux added six points in the third quarter to reach 38, then went on another scoring tear early in the fourth quarter. But he was still three points short of Madore’s mark entering the final minute, when Matt Rossignol alerted LaPierre of Rioux’s proximity to the 28-year-old standard.
“As the game was winding down and we were up by 12, coach was going to sub me out,” said Rioux. “Then he pulled me aside and told me I was three short of the record so I stayed in.”
Rioux, who is averaging 32 points per game this season, faced a box-and-one defense applied by the Owls throughout the contest but credited his teammates for helping him get into position to capitalize on his hot hand.
“We ran a lot of set plays to get me open off screens against the box-and-one, and they did a good job of getting me open,” he said.
The 5-foot-11-inch point guard grew up in Van Buren and attended local schools through the sixth grade before his family moved to Hermon.
He was a starting guard for the Hermon varsity squad as a sophomore and junior, averaging 10 points per game for the Class B Hawks last winter before opting to return to the Saint John Valley for his final year of high school.
“I just wanted to graduate with the senior class that I started with,” said Rioux. “It was time for a change.”
Rioux said the move back to Class D Van Buren also resulted in a change in his playing style.
“I’m a lot more aggressive this year,” said Rioux, whose previous single-game high this season was 40 points against both Fort Fairfield and Greater Houlton Christian Academy. “At Hermon we had more scoring threats, but here I’m more aggressive.”
The win over Madawaska improved Van Buren’s record to 8-7, good for eighth place in Eastern Maine Class D. The Crusaders have three regular-season games remaining, at home against Greater Houlton Christian Academy on Saturday followed by road games at Fort Fairfield on Tuesday and at Ashland on Thursday.