Ahkee Anderson caught the ball at the top of the key, took one quick jab to his right and crossed over his defender. On a quick step back, the Greenport junior fired a soft jumper that swished through the net.
The fans packed inside Richard “Dude” Manwaring Gymnasium erupted as the horn sounded to halt the game.
Greenport coach Ev Corwin has watched the talented guard play long enough to know the milestone basket likely wasn’t going to come on something a simple as a layup. With Anderson, it was likely to have a little flare, a little spark.
Sure enough, he didn’t disappoint.
“I knew if I crossed over I was going to be open,” Anderson said. “I crossed over and just pulled up and knew it was good. That’s my move right there.”
The long jumper with 3:20 left in the second quarter against Mattituck Friday night in the non-league season opener for both teams vaulted Anderson past the 1,000-career point mark. He became only the seventh player in program history to reach that milestone. (One Greenport girl, Madison Tabor in 2017, has also surpassed 1,000 career points).
Anderson went on to score a game-high 28 points as the Porters held off a Mattituck rally in the fourth quarter to win 51-47.
The game was briefly stopped to acknowledge Anderson’s milestone and he was presented with a basketball with his name written on it. He hugged his mother, Crystal Anderson, who wore a purple shirt that said “1,000 points” above pictures of her son.
Anderson came into the game seven points away from 1,000. He nearly reached the mark last year as a sophomore when the Porters reached the Class Class C state semifinals. One more victory, and he very likely would have gotten the mark in the ultimate game — the state championship.
Instead, he got to celebrate in a much less stressful atmosphere in the season opener, on his home court against a local rival with many familiar faces. Anderson plays football on the combined team that includes Mattituck players, so there’s a lot of familiarity among the players.
“It was a great moment,” Corwin said. “You could tell all his teammates were happy for him. The Mattituck community, the Greenport community both happy for him.”
The game had originally been scheduled to be played in Mattituck, but the Tuckers were willing to allow Greenport to host.
A banner that hangs inside the gymnasium lists the names of all the 1,000-point scorers, starting with Al Edwards in 1972.
“Those guys can play ball. They’re really good,” Anderson said. “To have my name associated with them is such an honor.”
The banner next to it lists the even more exclusive 2,000-point career club. Only two names make that list: Edwards and Ryan Creighton, the current JV coach, who led the Porters to the state finals during his senior year in 2009.
Anderson shook his head in amazement thinking about the school record Creighton holds with 2,799 career points from 2004-09.
“That’s ridiculous,” Anderson said. “He was a certified bucket. I think he has that [all-time record] solidified.”
The Porters led throughout the game and extended to a double digit lead in the third quarter. They took a 38-21 lead into the fourth quarter, but the Tuckers staged a furious comeback to pull within two late in the fourth and nearly spoiled the party for Greenport.
Greenport senior Jude Swann went to the line for a 1-and-1 with the Porters up by two and 11 seconds remaining. He calmly sank both shots to effectively seal the win. He finished the game with 12 points.
Mattituck junior Xavier Allen had a strong game with 17 points to lead the Tuckers. It was a balanced scoring effort otherwise for Mattituck, who did not have another player in double figures. Senior Ryan Seifert added nine. The Tuckers were without All-League senior H’Nadahri Joyner, who is recovering from a concussion.
Top photo caption: Greenport junior Ahkee Anderson hugs his mother after reaching the milestone Friday night. (Credit: Garret Meade)