Troy Wilson knew he would be a marked man this season after averaging almost 25 points per game as a junior.
But the Lyme senior guard took all the attention he received, like double-and triple teams as well an assortment of gadget defenses, and turned them into a supreme challenge. It was something he relished in his fifth and final season of varsity basketball.
The 5-foot-11 guard capped off one of the great careers in Frontier League history with a brilliant senior season. Finishing with 1,975 career points, Wilson averaged a career-best 30.1 points per game and earned Times All-North Frontier League MVP honors.
How special was Wilsons season? Despite defenses specifically designed to stop him, Wilson scored 30 or more points 11 times in 20 games with a high of 39. And in six other games he reached at least the 25-point mark.
Remarkably, Wilson never scored less than 20 points in any game, showing his consistency in the face of constant pressure, and his ability to create his own shot and also create for his teammates.
In addition to his scoring prowess, Wilson averaged 4.1 assists, 6.9 rebounds and 3.3 steals for Lyme, which finished 11-8 and captured the Frontier League D Division playoff title.
His 605 points was No. 1 in Section 3 this season. Wilsons versatility showed in his 41 made 3-pointers and the fact that he got to the foul line an amazing 202 times, connecting on 165.
All of which made Wilson an all but unstoppable force.
We knew Troy was going to be a special player since he came up to varsity as an eighth grader, said Lyme coach Leo Wilson, Troys uncle. But he didnt get to this point without a lot of hard work discipline. People didnt see what he did every day during the summer, taking 500 or 600 shots for hours on end. Or the time he spent before and after practices working on his ballhandling and other skills.
For Troy Wilson, the end of his high school career was bittersweet. Winning the playoffs was a great way to go out, he said. But the camaraderie and the close knit community and fans are something that youll always remember. And something thats hard to duplicate wherever you go in your career.
Wilson said, It still feels like I just started. I can remember that first game on the varsity when I was so nervous. I still get chills before every game, but I learned how to handle the pressure and the attention.
Thats what amazes Leo Wilson and all those who watched Troy Wilson play for five years.
The thing that impressed me the most was his leadership on and off the court, said Leo Wilson. He was always praising his teammates, and trying to get them involved in the game more. Youd think a kid that scores that much would be pretty selfish, but it was just the opposite for Troy. He could have taken a lot more shots, but he was all about winning.
For his career, Wilson averaged 20.4 points, 4.4 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 2.5 steals. He finished with 214 career 3-pointers.
The one record he missed, reaching the 2,000-point mark, was the one he wanted the most. I wanted to average 30 points and hit 2,000, Wilson said. I probably could have reached 2,000 with one more game, but I came about as close as you can get.
According to figures on the New York State Sportswriters Associations web site, Wilson now ranks fourth all-time in Frontier League career scoring. Father Scott is the all-time leader with 2,391 from 1979-82. Former Belleville star Jim Stockwell is second with 2,108 from 1965-69, and his son, Adam Stockwell, ranks third with 2,020 from 1988-92.
Troy is as dedicated to his sport as any athlete Ive ever seen, said Leo Wilson. But hes also one of the nicest and most respectful kids youll ever meet.