RADNOR >> All eyes in the Radnor High School gym were trained on Garnet Valley’s Andrew Louden as he lifted off beyond the 3-point arc with 1:47 left in the third quarter Saturday night.
A more select section of the sparse crowd knew that basket, which sent Louden over 1,000 career points, was a mere formality. The more poignant moment passed without fanfare on the first possession of the second quarter, when Louden picked a Radnor pocket and swooped in for two, points eight and nine on the night.
That took his career total to 989, earning Louden a more exclusive crown as the top-scoring Louden in Delco history.
All of those accolades shined through Louden’s smile as he posed for pictures with his parents after Garnet Valley’s 64-48 win over Radnor in Central League action.
In a pivotal game for both teams’ playoff aspirations, the personal subplot of Louden’s chase of history took center stage.
The most obvious benchmark on the horizon was 1,000, for which he needed 20 points. He tallied 27, becoming just the third player to eclipse 1,000 in a Jags’ jersey. (Dave Bitting, who scored 1,346 points, split his career between Garnet Valley and Ridley.) Louden’s next point will take him past Joe Nosko (1,008), with Nate Daltry’s program record of 1,186 is within his grasp.
Even Louden’s isn’t a pure addition to that fraternity, having spent two seasons and scored 397 points at Cardinal O’Hara.
The fact that Louden, a noted 3-point marksmen who has added dimensions to his game as he’s matured, stuck a triple to send him over 1,000 was spot on.
“That’s exactly how I wanted it to happen,” Louden said. “My freshman and sophomore years, I was more of just a 3-point shooter, and then I kind of developed more of a game at the basket. But I thought it was more fitting to get the 3 to do it.”
The other achievement for which the game wasn’t stopped was the earlier basket, with which he passed his father, Mike, a Cardinal O’Hara All-Delco and 1985 graduate who scored 988 career points. Andrew had already surpassed older brother Mike, a 2013 O’Hara grad and second-team All-Delco who scored 610 points over just two varsity seasons and is currently a junior at Philadelphia University, following his father’s collegiate footsteps.
With his points Saturday with a dozen family members in attendance, Andrew now reigns as the resident scoring king.
“We’ll joke around about that over the next couple of years,” he said. “It’s a good feeling, but it’s all fun and games.”
Less fun for Garnet Valley was the 14-5 lead that Radnor opened up, or the 17-11 edge it held after one quarter. That sluggish start accentuated the difficulty of Louden’s accomplishment, which came within the flow of the offense and was just what the Jags (9-5, 5-5 Central League) needed. He started the second quarter with four quick points, keying a 12-2 spurt that put GV up 23-19.
In the third quarter, with the milestone in his sights, Louden was deferential, dishing twice to Carl Tienabeso, who scored eight of his 12 in the frame.
And just for good measure, on the trip after his 1,000th point with time expiring on the third quarter, Louden corralled Danny Guy’s low feed and buried a triple to give GV its largest lead, 58-35.
“It’s a little extra,” he said. “It felt great to end the quarter on another 3, but it just added on to the overall night.”
Radnor’s biggest strength Saturday also illustrated its most pronounced weakness. Jake Bodenger, returning after a seven-game absence with a broken bone in his foot, led the way with 16 points. But the Raiders (8-8, 3-7) had to cope with the absence of second-leading scorer Mason Ressler and freshman Vernon Harper, the team’s other two threats in the lane.
Particularly against a Garnet team that routinely employs four guards, the lack of height was noticeable.
“When we can get o-boards — and we could’ve against this team — we can do well,” Bodenger said. “Vernon and Mason are two of our best offensive rebounders, and when we have bigger bodies, we’re just more effective.”
It didn’t help that Radnor’s principal first-half aggressors, like Mike Li (seven points) and Sami Ghazzi (eight), were shut out after the break. And Ryan McCrossan, who was 4-for-5 from the field for 13 points, mitigated Garnet Valley’s low-block disparity.
“I’m really hot or cold, and tonight I just had it going,” McCrossan.
Saturday was about Louden and his journey to 1,000. Though O’Hara basketball runs in his blood, it feels right for Andrew to have achieved this milestone — and perhaps others, like a long-awaited District One tournament berth — at Garnet Valley, surrounded by long-time friends.
— Matthew De George (@sportsdoctormd) January 17, 2016
“He’s fit in since Day 1,” McCrossan said. “I’ve played with him since probably fourth grade, so I’ve known him. He’s been a Garnet Valley kid, he just hasn’t been in the school district. Everyone knew him and he adjusted real quick.”
“It’s pretty cool because there wasn’t many people in our school that’s ever gotten it,” Louden said. “It’s kind of an honor to be one of the only few in our school to get it.”