SOUTH HOLLAND — The prep career of the greatest scorer in Minooka varsity boys basketball history came to an end Wednesday night at the Class 4A Thornwood Regional.
Jake Hogen and his Indians lost 52-49 to Lincoln-Way North in a semifinal game. He scored 19 points, giving him 344 for the season and 1,021 for his varsity career.
Two days earlier, Hogen became the first Minooka player ever to reach the 1,000-point milestone during a 65-50 regional semifinal win over Plainfield Central at Thornwood. He scored 18 points in that game and got to 1,000 with a running basket with 4:29 left in the third quarter, which was his 13th point of the quarter and his 16th of the game.
"It's exciting," Hogen said Monday. "I wasn't keeping track of my points during the game, but coach (Scott Tanaka) called a timeout right after and I got congratulated by my teammates."
Hogen, who had been told by Tanaka in advance that he was approaching the milestone, stressed that getting to it was not his priority during the game. And when he scored just three points during the first half, he had all but given up hope of getting there.
"I just knew I was a long way away from it. By then, I wasn't even worried about it," Hogen said Monday. "But Perry Jones and Darrin Myers did a great job of getting me the ball and getting me some great looks."
Hogen scored on a drive in the opening minute of the third quarter, and a flurry of points soon followed. He hit two three-pointers in a 20-second span a bit later, and made another three at the 5:08 mark of the third to get within two points of 1,000. By the time he sunk the runner, the Indians' lead had swelled from 31-23 at halftime to 48-27.
"Fortunately I was able to find my shot, but it wasn't about that," Hogan said afterward. "I wasn't worried about where I ended up. All that mattered was us winning."
Tanaka brought Hogen up to the varsity in time for Hogen to score 68 points as a freshman in 2009-10. By 2010-11, he was a full-time varsity player, scoring 273 points as a sophomore that winter. His 336 points led the Indians during a 20-win season in 2011-12, and he increased his total to 344 points this season as the Indians finished 17-14.
"It's a great accomplishment for Jake," Tanaka said Monday of Hogen's 1,000th point. "He's not a player who worries about his own points, but good for him."
Monday night, Hogen was asked what he would strive for next — the 1,100-point barrier, perhaps, which would presumably mean the Indians would make a run well into the state series. It was not to be, though the lower-seeded Indians rallied from an eight-point halftime deficit to lead in the second half before bowing out Wednesday.
"I definitely hope it keeps going, because that would mean we keep going," Hogen said Monday. "For me to get close to 1,100, we would have to get pretty deep into the postseason, so let's hope that happens."