Sayre player's three-point record still stands 25 years after Valentine's Day masterpiece

mfields@herald-leader.comFebruary 13, 2014 

  • National three-point record

    National record for most three-point goals in a game (boys):

    24Taurean Moy (Memphis Booker T. Washington, Tenn.) 2000

    21Chad Bickley (Santa Maria Valley Christian, Calif.) 1994

    20Chad Bickley (Santa Maria Valley Christian, Calif.) 1994

    18Quincy Douby (Brooklyn Grady, N.Y.) 2001

    17David DeMarcus (Lexington Sayre, Ky.) 1989

    17Kenny White (Staten Island Farrell, N.Y.) 1988

    17Scott Reeves (San Jose Valley Christian, Calif.) 1995

    17Travis Tuttle (Argyle, Wis.) 1991

    17John Soundingsides (Wyoming Indian) 2012

Valentine's Day 25 years ago still holds a special place in David DeMarcus' heart.

That night, as a senior at Sayre, he wrote himself into city, state and national high school basketball record books by making 17 three-pointers and scoring 59 points in a 119-36 rout of Millersburg Military Institute.

DeMarcus' 17 threes have since been topped nationally, but they're still a state record, and his 59 points are still the most in city hoops history.

At 43, DeMarcus still gets asked fairly regularly about that February night in 1989.

"It comes up more during basketball season, sometimes every few weeks. It's a little embarrassing, and I try to be humble.

"But," he grudgingly admitted, "it is neat."

DeMarcus averaged 23 points that season, and always had the green light to fire away. But Sayre Coach Jim Lankster preached a team-first attitude, and DeMarcus was careful not to get greedy.

On that night, though, DeMarcus said Lankster encouraged him to let it fly.

"He told me, 'David, I want you to look for your shot even more.' It was like he wanted me to take hold of it, to break the record."

Lankster doesn't remember giving DeMarcus such instructions. He thinks somebody might have told him at halftime that DeMarcus was within reach of Sayre's scoring record, and the coach was willing to let him break it.

"I didn't know anything about a three-point record," Lankster said.

As for the state three-point mark, Keith Adkins of Paintsville established it by making 11 threes (while scoring 53 points) in a 101-66 rout of Pikeville on Jan. 22, 1988.

DeMarcus had no trouble shooting holes in that record despite playing only 21/2 quarters against MMI. He eclipsed it in the first half by making 12 threes on his way to 41 points. He had five more threes in the few minutes he played in the third quarter.

For the game, DeMarcus hit 20 of 31 field goals, including 17 of 28 threes, and two of three free throws.

"I got in a groove. It just seemed like everything was falling that night," he said. "I was in a zone. Shooters know what that's like."

DeMarcus credited Sayre's point guard, Rob Goodman, "for always looking for me. Even if he had an open lane to the basket for a layup, he'd kick it back out to me."

Goodman, now Sayre's coach, recalled DeMarcus "draining shots left and right. Even when (MMI) surrounded him with two or three guys, he'd knock it down. He was just shooting lights out.

"I vividly remember a fast break, after we stole the ball, and David was beside me going down the court. I looked at him and said, 'What are you doing? Get away.' So he ran to the three-point line, I threw it to him and he knocked it down."

When DeMarcus left the game for good in the third quarter, he didn't know how many threes or points he had, but he was sure he had broken Adkins' mark. (He was unaware of the city record of 54 points set by Henry Bell of Douglass in 1958.)

"When Coach Lankster took me out, I remember he put his arm around me and said, 'Son, you've had enough tonight. Take a break.'"

Goodman said when the team found out later that DeMarcus had tied the national record for threes, they were disappointed they didn't try to set him up for one more so he would've broken it.

Lankster said if he had let DeMarcus play the entire game, "I guarantee you he would've made 27 or 28. He was that good. David was such a special player."

DeMarcus went on to have a solid career at Centre College. He scored 1,290 points, a good chunk of those coming on threes.

DeMarcus is a farmer now. He has 2,000 acres in eastern Fayette County. He raises beef cattle, tobacco and corn.

DeMarcus and his wife, Gail, have two children. David III, 15, plays basketball and baseball at Lexington Christian Academy. Rachael, 13, is a volleyball player at LCA.

Dad still plays basketball on occasion, and still has a pure shooting stroke. He and his son worked out together recently and launched more than 700 jumpers. It's safe to say the ol' Sayre Spartan probably hit a few hundred. But they couldn't add up to the majesty of the 17 he hit on Valentine's Day long ago.

Goodman, reflecting on that game, said: "We wanted David to make it a night to remember, and he did."

DeMarcus is reminded of it every time he arrives home. The road marker by his driveway reads 3333.

That's no coincidence.

When he and his family had their farm house built 10 years ago, DeMarcus was told he could pick whatever address number he wanted, as long as it was between 3200 and 3500.

"I told them to make it simple and make it all threes," he said with a smile.

Mike Fields: (859) 231-3337. Twitter: @MikeFieldsNotes. Blog: fieldsnotes.bloginky.com.

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