French Settlement’s Edward Allison hit 1,000 career points in the Lions’ recent win over Central Private, and he admits he may have made getting there a little more difficult than it needed to be.
He drove and missed a layup but was fouled. That meant the pressure was on – all he had to do was sink a free throw to hit the milestone.
He did it, but that doesn’t mean he was happy about the way things transpired.
“I was pretty mad that I didn’t finish the layup,” Allison said with a laugh. “I got fouled. I didn’t want to do it at the line, but I guess it was a little cool because the game was stopped (to recognize the accomplishment).”
“There was no pressure at all,” Allison laughed. “I was probably more nervous than shooting a game-winner from the free-throw line.”
When the free throw went in, Allison was congratulated by his teammates and Central Private players.
“It truly was a surreal moment – my teammates coming over and congratulating me,” Allison said. “Without them, I wouldn’t be able to score 1,000 points, without them helping me throughout the season. It was just cool to have such good sportsmanship on their part … It was a cool moment. I think some parents had some signs for me. It was a cool moment. It was definitely something I’ll never forget.”
Allison reached the milestone on Jan. 7 and was presented a ball to commemorate the achievement before last week’s game against Springfield.
“It’s kind of crazy to think about, because I’ve always thought about scoring 1,000 points,” Allison said. “I never knew if I’d really get it or not, but it’s a lot more of a relief now that I’ve got it. It was hard to play during that time where I was close to it because all my teammates kept telling me about it the whole time. It was so hard not to think about it. Whenever I got it, it was just so much easier just to play and not have to worry about anything and just play and win just have fun.”
French Settlement coach Jake Bourgeois, whose team is 16-5 overall and 3-0 in District 10-2A play and No. 14 in the unofficial Class 2A power rankings by geauxpreps.com, said Allison’s work ethic helped him reach the mark.
“He has the raw ability, but he also puts in hours and hours of work,” Bourgeois said. “Any time I come up here for extra gym time, he’s here. He doesn’t miss any. He’ll come shoot by himself if he has to. The group I have now, most of them are like that, which is kind of what made our program turn around from two years ago winning seven games … It’s nothing to do with me. It’s how hard they work. They put in the hours … extra practice time outside of practice, and I love it. They love the game. They’re competitors. Sometimes (Allison) and Draven (Smith) are too competitive. They want to kill each other. They’ll go at each other, but they know at the end of the day they’ve got each other’s backs. We’ve got one goal, and that’s to win basketball games and do that as a team.”
Allison also praised Bourgeois, who is in his second year coaching at his alma mater.
“Growing up, I’ve always worked hard for everything,” Allison said. “Coach Jake makes it so easy for us to be able to get a lot of shots up, get extra time. It’s so easy for us to be able to get a lot of shots up, get extra time. It’s so easy for us just to shoot whenever we want, go to the gym, get shots up. We really do have a great situation with Coach Jake … because he’s a gym rat. He’s always at the gym, even though he doesn’t even play. He’s always still at the gym working out, doing something – sleeping. He’s always there.”
Allison’s drive when it came to tweaking his form on shooting free throws, something Bourgeois helped him with over the summer. The change is noticeable when Allison shoots from the line as he lines his right foot up with the center of the rim, then takes a step to the left.
“Last year, he shot like 50 percent from the free-throw line,” Bourgeois said. “It was terrible. Teams would say, ‘coach, all we’ve got to do is foul him.’ He’s your point guard and your point guard can’t have the ball in his hand at the end of games because he can’t make one-and-ones, and he knew that, and he knew that was one of his weaknesses. He got in the gym and he worked.”
Allison said the change has been a blessing.
“Whenever I go to the free-throw line, and I get to the side, it’s easier for me just so all I have to do is just flick my wrist straight instead of having to angle it a little bit. I just did it one time and I as making them, so I haven’t stopped doing it since.”
Bourgeois said Allison was shooting 45-50 percent from the line last season but is in the upper 60s this season.
“He gets some funny looks, but he makes them now, so I said, ‘hey, whatever works,’” Bourgeois said. “He’s shooting a lot better.”
The scary part is, Bourgeois said Allison, who’s been contributing on the varsity level since eighth grade, has room to improve his game.
“We talk all the time,” Bourgeois said of Allison. “Great basketball mind. I told him, ‘dude, if you ever want to be a coach, you need to go for it’, because a lot of times, he’s just an extension of me. I don’t even call out offensive plays sometimes and just let him run stuff, but he’s very smart in the game. He knows it, knows Xs and Os, knows little details.
“Now, that’s what (we’re) working on right now, building more layers to the game just offensively and defensively,” Bourgeois continued. “He’s got a couple things he does really, really well, but he needs to work on a few things, and he knows that. We’re going to add more layers to it, but you tell him we’re going to work, and he’ll be there.”
The next individual goal for Allison is getting to 2,000 career points, something he said has already come up among teammates.
“I’ve already done the math on it for 2,000 points, but I’m not worried about it,” Allison said. “As long as I keep working hard and keep doing what I’m doing and just keep putting myself in good situations on the court, it should be no problem to get 2,000 points.”
“It was definitely brought up in the locker room,” Allison continued. “I try not to think about it. It’s hard not to think about it whenever I’m off the court, but it’s so far away, there’s no point in worrying about. (I’m) just trying to play basketball and win games …”
Meanwhile, Allison is focused on team goals first, starting with Friday’s key district showdown hosting Doyle, which is at No. 4 in the Class 2A power rankings.
“That’s all we care about is just winning the game no matter how it’s done,” Allison said. “No matter who’s scoring, no matter what, our goal is just to win the game.”
“We definitely have a team-first mentality,” Allison continued. “We’ve already had a few tests this season, but we’ve got a couple of games coming up, especially Friday against Doyle, that are going to be some pretty big tests of our character of how we play and just proving how good we are. We’re a young team. We have no seniors. Nobody thought we were going to be this good this year, and we’re really shocking everybody right now.”