By Nick Freimuth
To score 1,000 points in a high school basketball career is a momentous occasion. Whenever a player hits the milestone games are typically halted, commemorative basketballs awarded and grand announcements made. To accomplish this feat as a junior is something extra special. In the history of boys basketball in the Packerland Conference only three juniors have ever joined the 1,000 point club.
The first to do it was head coach of the Southern Door Eagles Derik Hawkey. In 2007, Hawkey was the first 11th grader to ever eclipse 1,000 points. It is a game Hawkey vividly remembers while playing for the Eagles. It was a home game against Oconto and the pomp and circumstance surrounding the event was elevated to say the very least.
The second to hit 1,000 points as a junior was nearly ten years to the day. N.E.W. Lutheran’s Samuel Meerstein scored his 1,000th point days before the third player ever did. Samuel is the son of the longest tenured head coach in the Packerland Conference. Coach Mark Meerstein is in his 27th year as head coach of the Blazers. He has one year of seniority in the conference over Sturgeon Bay boys basketball coach Jim Benesh.
The third high school junior to ever accomplish this feat was a player named after Derik Hawkey. Southern Door elementary School teacher Kris LeCaptain named her son Derik LeCaptain after one of her favorite, spunky first grade students at the time. It seems rather perfect that Derik Hawkey is coaching the young man named after him during the season he joined the rare air club. Derik LeCaptain hit 1,000 points earlier this season and hopes his classmate joins him Thursday night.
Packerland Conference Player of the Year Kyle Daoust is 22 points away from becoming the fourth player to ever hit 1,000 points as a junior. The school record books indicate he is 22 points away while WisSports.net says he needs 23 points against Valders to hit 1,000 points. Daoust is faced with a monumental challenge Thursday against Valders. He led the conference in scoring all season and would like nothing more than to elevate his team to a sectional final on Saturday. It could be the perfect storm Thursday night if Daoust can score 23 points in a win accomplishing two pretty incredible feats in one game.
You can listen to the broadcast of the game Thursday night with the Door County Medical Center Pre-Game Show at 6:30 PM. Coach Derik Hawkey will talk about this story in depth and preview their sectional semi-final matchup with the Vikings of Valders on 104.1 FM WRLU. Tip-off comes your way at 7:00 PM with Nick Freimuth and Ben Rikkola on the call. The game will also be streamed worldwide at DoorCountyDailyNews.com.
Derik Hawkey, Samuel Meerstein, Derik LeCaptain and Kyle Daoust will all be in action Thursday night as the Packlerland Conference’s torch bearers in the sectional tournament. N.E.W. plays Phelps at Oconto Falls. Oconto is still alive in Division 4. The Blue Devils play Shiocton with a strong chance of advancing as well.
Packerland Conference Boys Basketball is definitely trending in the right direction. If all three schools make it to the sectional finals Saturday it would mark the first time in conference history that the Packerland could have three boys teams in a sectional final. Luxemburg-Casco, Kewaunee and Algoma girls basketball teams were each able to make it to the state tournament in 2011 representing the Packerland Conference. That was something that has never been done before and has not happened again since. While the local girls teams carried the banner for the Packerland for the last decade-plus it appears the boys are ready to step up this year and for a number of years to come.