Jake Duby didn’t know he was four points away from becoming Sayre’s all-time leading scorer when the Spartans tipped off against visiting Lee County on Tuesday night.
So when play was halted after he made a bucket during the first quarter, the 6-foot-3 senior looked around in bewilderment. Then he spotted his dad, who issued a thumbs up, and Duby started putting things together.
“I thought I was about 200 points away last night until it happened,” Duby said. “Once I scored the basket and the buzzer sounded, I was like, ‘Oh, OK, somebody’s not on the book or the clock’s messing up’ or something like that.”
Sayre Coach Rob Goodman played a role in misleading Duby about his career scoring total, which reached 1,704 points after the win. Duby, his mind built for scoring the rock, started asking about his total before most games after it was brought to his attention midway through the season that he might be close to breaking the record of 1,693 set by Brad Nahra in 1998.
Goodman did drop a hint ahead of the surprise, though Duby didn’t catch on.
“I said, ‘Jake, don’t worry about it; you just go get four or five points, that’s all I care about,’” Goodman said of his pregame discussion Tuesday night. “ … Jake just looked at me and said, ‘I just want to win the game, too,’ and I was like, ‘Good call, let’s get the win and get ready for the next game.’”
Duby’s crowning achievement as an individual came as the Spartans won their seventh straight game. They were scheduled to hold their final home game, versus Wolfe County, on Thursday before a three-game road swing — at Somerset (Feb. 11), at Western Hills (Feb. 13) and at St. Francis (Feb. 16) — next week. If Sayre (17-8) were to win out, it would enter the 42nd District one victory shy of tying the program record for single-season wins.
Duby, who transferred from Lafayette after his freshman year, said in previous seasons Sayre’s chances of winning were largely contingent on his scoring output. This season, he said, the Spartans can survive a 10- or 12-point outing from him because on any given night there are six or seven other guys on the team who can rise to the occasion.
“It makes us closer as a team when everybody’s contributing,” said Duby, who’s currently mulling offers from Centre College and Birmingham Southern.
Sayre picked up its first wins over city teams — Bryan Station and Tates Creek — in six years this season. Were the Spartans to knock off a third, Henry Clay, in the opening round of the postseason, they’d make the 11th Region field for the first time since 1998.
“We know the road’s tough,” Goodman said. “ ... We have all the respect in the world for (Henry Clay) ’cause they’re a good team, but our goal is what it always has been.
“We’d like to set that record but this team is such a great team. I will argue with anybody that by the end of this season that this will be one of, if not the, best team that the school’s had.”