GENEVA - Four years ago when Pymatuning Valley coach Ryan Fitch took over the Lakers program, a freshman guard named Tim Cross made such an impact on him, that it only took five games for the first-year coach to insert him into his starting lineup.
When Cross, now a senior, stepped to the free-throw line and hit the first of two attempts with 6:36 remaining in a 57-43 win Tuesday night at Geneva, it marked the 1,000th point he scored under Fitch, making him the 39th player in Ashtabula County to reach that mark.
Cross went on to score 15 in the game, giving him 1,002 for his career, placing him 38th all-time in Ashtabula County boys basketball history. Leading into the game, Cross said he was feeling the pressure to get over the hump.
"It was just kind of like my first game ever as a basketball player," he said. "It was really nerve-racking, I just wanted to get it off my chest and put it to bed tonight. (Before the free throw) I better make this one, that's all I kept thinking.
"It was very nerve-racking, I just figured I'd shoot with confidence and get it over with."
The four-year starter's accomplishment of 1,000 points could be considered more significant because of his attitude as a pass-first, score-second player.
"He's a very unselfish player," Fitch said. "It doesn't matter. Tim would rather win and score zero than score 40 and us lose. That's just the type of kid he is. I'm happy for him to get it because a kid like that deserves it. He's a leader on the court, an extension of the head coach.
"It's been my honor and pleasure to coach him."
For Cross, he never saw himself as a 1,000-point scorer.
"I didn't, I didn't even think about it until maybe midway through the season I started to hear about it," he said. "My teammates give me a lot of open shots, I just take what the defense gives me. If it's a shot I'll take it, if it's not I just dish to my teammates and they'll do the rest."