As time started to wind down in the Falcons game against Mount Olive, tension continued to grow. Just two points away from one of the most impressive high school basketball milestones was Jefferson senior Mattie Johnson.
As the Falcons led by 15, Matt Moran forced a steal with just under two minutes left in the game. The loose ball trickled out to Cole Fitzgerald, who then passed the ball up to Johnson all alone on a fast break.
As fitting as it could possibly be, Johnson extended to the rim and threw down a dunk, explosively adding his name to the Falcon record books. After the energizing dunk, an eruption of fans and teammates partied in Mount Olive, celebrating a well-deserved milestone for Johnson.
And the Falcons won the game, 64-40.
“I have been blessed to be able to coach such impressive players,” Jefferson coach Joe DeGennaro said postgame. Johnson is now the third player in three straight years with 1,000-points, following Steve Breeman and Joe Batelli.
What Johnson proves on the court is just what fans or viewers see. His hard work and will to get better is what has made him into an electric scorer and a future college basketball player at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
“He’s my boy,” teammate Buddy Jacobus said. “I really wanted the assist but Cole (Fitzgerald) decided to steal that from me. But honestly, Mattie is so deserving of it and I am beyond happy for him.”
“Have to thank Buddy, he is always sharing the ball and just an all-around good teammate,” Johnson said. The two have been playing together well before high school and as for Johnson, it has been a milestone he’s been chasing since he first picked up a basketball. “It’s really cool to finally get it. Obviously, my teammates have helped me so much to get here.”
Fitzgerald was the favorite teammate of the night for the Falcons, due to his assist for the record books. “I’ve been in the right place at the right time,” Fitzgerald said. “I helped Buddy get the soccer assists record, and now I added Mattie’s record to the list for myself.”
Johnson has been playing hurt all year, which has definitely stalled this achievement. Thanks to Sunday’s day off and a light Monday prior to game time, his ankles were in much better shape tonight.
Although the record was achieved, the weight wasn’t lifted but rather just lessened with the milestone. The senior is still chasing a ring, something which has been looming in his eyes for his entire varsity career. As the Falcons season continues to wind down and the state sectional tournament gets closer, the third seeded Falcons seem ready to compete with the help of their new 1,000-point scorer Mattie Johnson.