Peyton’s place: Aldridge scores 1,000th point in win over Windham

LEAVITTSBURG – It’s a good thing the Ohio High School Athletic Association decided to expand the basketball season from 20 to 22 games.

The way it figures to work out, LaBrae Vikings standout Peyton Aldridge might need each of those extra games next season to earn important bragging rights in the family. Aldridge, who surpassed the 1,000-point career mark with 32 in the Vikings’ 77-57 win over the Windham Bombers Tuesday, stands 544 points shy of the school record of 1,548 set by his mother Lisa (Kuszmaul) Aldridge.

Peyton didn’t know he needed 28 points to reach the 1,000-point barrier, but he knew about his mother’s record. Lisa, a 1980 graduate of LaBrae, made sure of it.

“When he was a freshman I told him, ‘Listen, you need to set some goals, and I would love to see you beat your mother’s,’ ” Lisa said. “We go back and forth once in awhile and chuckle. That could be attainable I guess.”

Peyton scored his 1,000th point on a fielder early in the fourth period. He added two more field goals before taking an early seat on the bench as the Vikings put the finishing touches on one of their best efforts of the season.

There’s no question that Peyton has now set his sights on his mother’s record.

“My mom got it back in the day before the 3-point line,” Peyton said. “She was a heck of a player. It’s just an honor to be close right now.”

Peyton staged a complete performance. In addition to leading all scorers, he had 18 rebounds, nine assists and seven blocked shots.

“He’s such a team player he’s not looking to score as much as he can,” Vikings coach Chad Kiser said. “Typically he’ll feed the ball to the other guys. Tonight we were able to get the ball down low and in transition a lot where he was able to finish them. A lot of those points came off offensive rebounds.

“Just an all-around great effort. We played a 10-man rotation and all of our guys contributed and played hard. That weighed on Windham. Their bench isn’t real deep, and we took advantage of that tonight. We had no drop-off when we had guys coming in there.”

The Vikings improved their record to 16-3, while the Bombers slipped to 18-2.

Windham looked sharp on the initial possession of the game with Matt Knight scoring on a layup following an excellent pass, but it didn’t take long for the Vikings to show their muscle. Peyton and Carl Brown, who scored 17 points, combined on 13 unanswered points (nine by Peyton and four by Brown). The Vikings led 19-11 entering the second quarter.

“Peyton usually doesn’t score that much,” Bombers coach Marty Hill said. “I told our coaches he had to pick that night to shoot 15 to 20 times.

“They got that run on us because we made some dumb passes, and then we had a period of about two or three minutes in the first quarter where we made it too easy for them because we didn’t run any motion. After that we settled down a little bit, but when you’re playing a good team, 20 points is a tough thing to do.”

Peyton scored 10 points in the second period as the Vikings’ lead stretched to 45-25. He had 13 points and four blocked shots at intermission.

“We came out with a lot of energy right off the bat,” Peyton said. “We like to run, and I thought we did a great job of that. We did a great job of boxing out and rebounding.”

Knight finished with 15 points. Parker Rickey had 13.

The only intrigue in the second half was whether or not Peyton would get to the 1,000-point mark. Now that he has reached the milestone, the Vikings can begin zeroing in on the tournaments.

“Some teams at this time of the year can’t wait for the season to be over,” Kiser said. “For us, we should be excited. Great teams at this time are starting to play their best basketball and don’t want it to end.”

There’s another goal Lisa would like to see Peyton and his teammates reach for the first time.

“I’d love for him to reach going somewhere farther than districts,” she said.