Ross joins father in scoring milestone with Loyalsock

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Loyalsock's Gerald Ross (1) steals the ball from Athen's Ethan Lane in the first quarter.

Gerald Ross can put the calculator away.

A few years ago, Ross began calculating how many points he would need to average to one day join his father Gerald II as a 1,000-point scorer. He figured it might come as a senior. Instead, he sped up the process. Ross no longer needs to think about that average. He is now part of an exclusive club.

Ross scored his 1,000th career point Saturday at home, helping Loyalsock defeat Athens, 71-57 while giving coach Ron Insinger his 900th career win as the Lancer boys coach. The junior guard needed less than three seasons to become the program’s 14th 1,000-point scorer. Ross is also just the third player in program history to reach 1,000 points before his senior year and the first to do it since the mid-1990s.

“To get 1,000 in three years is great,” Ross said. “All the credit to my teammates for getting me the ball and getting me open looks and giving up their shots for a better look. It’s a credit to them, too.”

“It’s excellent company to be in,” Insinger said. “I’ve had great players and coaches and it’s the same way with Gerald. If he didn’t have excellent players passing the ball to him he wouldn’t be scoring 1000 points. It’s something where you can’t rest your laurels.”

Ross has not since breaking into Loyalsock’s starting lineup as a freshman. The three-year starter helped that team that had lost its top seven players from the previous season rally late and make the playoffs. Ross developed into one of the area’s premier players last year as Loyalsock won 21 games and captured the Heart­land Conference championship. And now Ross has taken his game to the next level, becoming one of the district’s most complete players.

Ross showed his whole arsenal Saturday, scoring 27 points, grabbing seven rebounds, making four steals and adding three assists. He needed 17 points to reach 1,000 entering the game and now has 1,010 points.

“Before the game I was thinking about it, but once the game tipped off I wasn’t even thinking about it any more,” Ross said. “I was just trying to play and get easy shots and get my teammates easy shots. I just wanted to get the win. That’s all I was focused on.”

That was good, too, be­cause Athens gave Loyal­sock a scare and built a 26-14 second-quarter lead. Ross, also an all-state wide receiver last fall who topped 1,000 yards and scored 14 touchdowns, was key to the comeback, scoring 14 second-half points and giving Athens trouble on both ends. By halftime, Loyalsock crept within two points and it took the lead for good early in the third.

Ross broke a 34-34 tie to reach the area 1,000-point air. Athens was doing its best to swarm him, but Ross caught a pass on the wing, burst down the right baseline and finger rolled the shot in, giving him 1,000 points. The game was briefly stopped as Ross embraced both his parents. Then it was back to business as Ross helped Loyal­sock land the knockout blow.

“When I was driving I saw the open lane and I didn’t realize that was my bucket to get 1,000,” Ross said. “I just hit it and it was an unreal feeling.”

Ross is averaging 18 points per game this season, second-best in the area. He does more than score, though, and also is a quality rebounder, passer and defender. That was evident throughout Satur­day’s game and was a big reason Loyalsock (16-5) won its third straight game this week.

The 1,000 points out of the way, Ross can focus now on helping Loyalsock make a postseason splash. His father scored 1,000 points at Susquehanna as well, so there still is some added motivation for the future.

“I always thought I would get it my last game of my senior year,” Ross said. “It was definitely one of my goals. My dad scored 1,000 in high school and college so I still have to catch him.”