Milestone part two: Amherst basketball’s Meikkel Murray officially celebrates 1,000 points

  • Amherst Regional senior Meikkel Murray (22) celebrates with teammates, including his brother Meikyle (12), after scoring the 1,000th point of his career during an 84-64 win over East Longmeadow, Friday at Amherst Middle School. JAMIE CUSHMAN

For the Gazette
Published: 2/17/2017 11:21:14 PM

AMHERST — It may have taken three more days than initially thought, but it was worth the wait for Amherst Regional’s Meikkel Murray as he tallied the 1,000th point of his career in an 84-64 win over East Longmeadow on senior night Friday.

Murray was told at the end of Tuesday’s game at West Springfield that he surpassed the milestone, but afterward the Hurricanes recalculated Murray’s total and realized he was still six points short.

“It feels way better than on West Side because I didn’t really have family or any other fans out there to see me, so to get it here at home with my family and everyone I’ve known pretty much my whole life, it was special,” Murray said.

Murray scored a game-high 31 points and the Spartans had no answer for Amherst’s most recent member of the 1,000-point club.

Murray is the first Amherst boys player to reach 1,000 points since Bayete Gordon in 1999. Jeff Osborne and Matt Garvey are the other players in the 1,000-point club.

“My coach just told me to attack, nobody can guard you, so just do your thing and keep attacking, and don’t let the missed shots get to your head,” Murray said.

The Hurricanes jumped out to a 19-11 lead after the opening quarter at Amherst Regional Middle School.

“I thought we came out on senior night with the enthusiasm that we needed to. We had our traditional starting lineup and I thought those kids did a great job and set the tone for the rest of the game for us,” Amherst coach Jim Matuszko said.

A seven-point game at halftime, Amherst turned up the heat following the break. An 11-2 run stretched the Hurricanes lead to 11 with two minutes left in the third quarter. They finished off the Spartans by outscoring them 26-15 in the final frame.

Amherst showed off a potent inside-outside attack, working the ball down low to Murray which opened up chances for the Hurricanes to shoot outside. Amherst made six 3-pointers.

“My coach told me when you drive you open up shots for our guards outside. We do that and they still find me down low, so it works perfectly with the guards we have,” Murray said.

Added Matuszko: “Our shooters have struggled throughout the year at times. When they’re getting into the flow of it and we start getting some scoring inside, it seems to open up the outside. When they get it within the offense it works fine, if they try to rush shots it’s not so great, but I though most of the shots today came within the offense.”

Tajahn Joyner also shined for the Hurricanes, finishing with 20 points.

“I thought Tajahn Joyner played a heck of a game at the point. He was attacking the basket well,” Matuszko said.

For East Longmeadow, Colin Lindsay (20 points) and Jeric Cichon (17) did the bulk of the damage.

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