Tuesday was a historic night for the Johnston boys basketball team, as senior captain Derek Salvatore scored his 1,000th career point, becoming the 10th player in Panther history to accomplish that feat.
Salvatore needed four points entering the contest and would hit the 1,000 mark with 5:55 remaining in the second quarter on a midrange jump shot.
“I was obviously thinking about it going into the night but I was more focused on getting the win. (Once I got it), there was definitely a sense of relief knowing that I would be able to just go with the flow for the rest of the game,” said Salvatore of hitting the shot.
Salvatore has been a four-year starter at the point guard position for the Panthers and has become one of the division’s best players. He is committed to playing for Division III St. Joseph’s of Maine next season and has helped the Panthers claim the top seed heading into the Division II playoffs.
Salvatore pictured the moment since he was a freshman and was proud of the improvement in his game over the years.
“I was getting good minutes my freshman year but I wasn’t scoring that much. Over the years I progressed, and this was my dream to get a thousand,” said Salvatore.
The Panthers started off on a 16-0 run in league play to capture first place, but dropped their last two games of the regular season, including the 60-59 decision to Lincoln on Tuesday.
Camani Batista led Johnston with 14 points, while Salvatore added 13. Anthony Corsinetti and Neari Vasquez also scored 12 points each.
Despite the recent rough stretch, Salvatore believes that the Panthers are in good shape heading into the postseason and needed to be tested down the stretch.
“I think we’re in a very good state because sometimes it’s not the best thing to go undefeated. We have learned a lot from these two losses so they have only made us better,” said Salvatore. “Losing to these two teams, it’s only going to make us want to come back and hit harder, so there is motivation and it’s good.”