DYER BROOK, Maine — Basketball has been a huge part of Hunter Burpee’s life for as long as he can remember.
The 17-year-old son of Janet and Matt Burpee, Hunter is a senior forward for the Southern Aroostook boys basketball team. He scored the 1,000th point of his high school career Monday, Jan. 3, in a home game against Central Aroostook.
Coming into the game, Burpee said he wasn’t exactly sure how many points he needed to reach the mark. Burpee needed 27 points going into the game.
“I knew that I was getting close to it and that I was going to get it this game or the game after,” he said. “I did not really feel any pressure. I just played the game how I would have played any other.”
His historic shot came on a layup where he was fouled going to the rim. The layup was set up by a nice pass from his younger brother, Dylan.
“Hunter has been a great leader for us this year on the court,” his coach Brett Russell said. “He is our workhorse on the court who can and will control both ends of the court when necessary, but also make the extra pass when there. He has bought into a team first concept that has led to a very successful start to the season for our team and himself collectively.”
Knowing that this is his final run as a senior, coach Russell said Burpee has made a commitment to his teammates and himself.
In reaching the coveted milestone, Burpee joins an exclusive club at SACS — one that features just 22 other players in the school’s history, including his coach. The last schoolboy athletes to reach the scoring mark were Jackson Mathers and Nolan Altvater, who both achieved the feat in 2016.
Burpee’s coach, Brett Russell, scored his 1,000th point in 1992. Other schoolboy athletes to achieve this feat include Jay Bedwell (1984), Jon Prescott (1985), Jay Burpee (1991), Bill Mathers (1991), Ricki Shields (1992), Sam Michaud (1999), Nate Hardy (2000), Jordan Shields (2001), Corey Shields (2003), Dakota Sleeper (2010).
Reaching the coveted plateau has been a goal of Burpee’s for as long as he can remember, but as nice as it is, he has his sights set on something bigger.
“This (1,000th-point) has been a goal of mine since I was just a kid, but an even bigger goal that I have had since I was a kid is winning a state championship,” he said.
A five-year member of the SA varsity boys basketball team, Burpee got his start as an eighth-grader with the Warriors, playing with much older teammates. His hard work and dedication to the sport has suited him well during his high school career.
“Hunter has an old school approach to life and I love it,” RSU 50 Athletic Director Cliff Urquhart said. “He won’t be outworked and he holds people accountable.”
“The thing I like most about basketball is the friendships and relationships that are gained from it,” Burpee said. “Playing basketball has made me develop relationships with people that will last a lifetime, and it has also given me countless memories that I will cherish.”