Top Shot: Green sets school scoring record in victory over Iowa City West

After being a bit frustrated with not scoring once in the first quarter in a home game against No. 1 rated Iowa City West on Jan. 16, senior AJ Green made his way more aggressively down court and knocked down eight points in the second, leaving him just under the breaking point of the all time scoring record held by James Harrington.

Then, swiftly moving around players on the hard wooden floor, finding an opening, Green hit a three pointer on the left wing to put him over Harrington’s record.

“It’s a pretty cool accomplishment to just know my hard work over the years has paid off, but to me, wins and losses are more important, so getting the win on Tuesday was the best thing,” Green said.

Harrington set the record at 1,409 points in his senior year of high school when he graduated in 2012.

Currently, Green is at 1,464+ points, but he isn’t finished yet.

Along with accomplishing this goal, he said he has many other goals to finish out his senior season as a Tiger before aiming for new hopes as a Panther.

“The next goal for this season is to win a state championship,” he said. “That has always been a goal of mine since my freshman year of high school.”

He said he feels that this year the team has all the pieces to make that goal happen. It’s just going to come down to them playing how they are supposed too.

Green is a modest player, so when he hit the three pointer, he said all he wanted to do was keep the momentum going in order to beat Iowa City West, and he hadn’t realized the record was broken.

The crowd, coaches, teammates and school had another plan.

Fans of red, black and white, roared with excitement, and the intense game was stopped in order to recognize and congratulate Green on his success.

The setting of the gymnasium was electric as the ball swooshed through the net. The players were lit on fire when sprinting off the bench to congratulate their teammate as the game took a pause, and the coaches presented Green with a ball to commemorate his achievement on being the new all time leading scorer.

“The atmosphere was amazing in the gym all night long, not just when I broke the record.”

Green said ever since he was a young boy just playing basketball, breaking this record was always another goal set for himself in the back of his mind.

Coach Ryan Schultz said Green is the hardest working player he has ever coached, and that he said he believes Green has earned all the success that comes his way because he puts in the time and does things the right way.

Green personifies the fact that hard work and dedication lead to great things, Schultz said.

“You know you have a special leader when they give credit to others in great moments or when personal achievements are earned,” he said.

After the game, Schultz had heard Green talk on the radio and read comments from the newspaper, only to see Green was once again only focused on the team win, not just his achievement.

He had talked about big plays by his teammates including the huge steal and lay-up, taking a charge, and forcing a turnover by junior Logan Wolf, the amazing block junior Jack Campbell had in an intense moment of the game, when senior Ben Gerdes knocked down two big free throws or how junior Jackson Frericks had maintained perfect position when guarding Iowa City West’s most prolific player.

It’s safe to say there is a great bond between the young men on this team that is unbreakable.

“All my teammates were pretty excited when I broke it, but I couldn’t have set the record without the help of my teammates, so, they deserve some credit too,” Green said.

Schultz said Green sees the big picture. The two had not spoken about the record until this season because it wasn’t a “must have.” He said he believes Green is all about the team, and when teams can be successful together, that is something special to be a part of.

“He knows he needs his teammates to do big things for us and him to be successful, and his main goals are team driven,” Schultz said. “I think that type of attitude is what carries teams to great heights.”

Schultz said he hopes that Green’s attitude can influence younger players, and he said he hopes that the  community members and fans see that as well.

Green led his team to victory that night against the top-rated 4A team in Iowa as he scored 36 total points by the end of the night in front of a large, home crowd. The Trojans fell to their first defeat since February 2017, at 55-54 against the Tigers. Still ranked at number 1 and Cedar Falls at number 4, this would be Iowa City West’s first defeat by an Iowa team since Dec., 20, 2016.

Green said this was “icing on the cake” for him. “Going into the game last Tuesday,” he said. “I just wanted to win and didn’t care too much about setting the record.”

Instilling all players, coaches and fans with confidence in the program and team, this win was huge for everyone.

“I think the atmosphere really gave us an advantage in the game and helped us get the win,” he said.

Losing to a last second, lucky, buzzer beater shot in Green’s sophomore year at the state basketball tournament, he said that this win against the highly ranked team was extra special for him.

“To have AJ surpass the scoring record on the same night we knock off Iowa City West was perfect, and it’s a night I will always cherish,” Schultz said.

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