HURLOCK — The night before North Dorchester High’s game against Cambridge-South Dorchester on Friday, Jaheim Copper couldn’t sleep.
It had nothing to do with the rivalry. He was one point shy of 1,000 for his Eagles career, and knew — barring something unexpected — the next day would contain very significant moments.
It didn’t take the senior long to get there. With just 1 minute, 33 seconds elapsed in the game, Copper knocked down a 3-pointer to put North Dorchester up 6-0 and him at 1,002 career points.
The game was paused to recognize the achievement. The crowd went wild. Copper fell to the floor and, overcome with emotion, pulled his jersey over his face. His teammates, coaches and family mobbed him in celebration. Cheerleaders brought balloons to mid-court shaped in the digits of 1,000.
“I was excited for him,” North Dorchester head coach Robert Smith said. “I’ve known him since he was a baby. We hadn’t had a thousand-point scorer since 2006. Actually Formonte West was our last thousand-point scorer. So I was excited for him. I was proud of him.”
Copper was a little disappointed he couldn’t reach the milestone Tuesday at Easton. But he said it was even more special to reach the milestone against his team’s rival because he knew all of his friends and family would be there to see it.
“I was trying so hard (at Easton),” Copper said. “But everybody that was there was telling me that they’re glad that I didn’t get it there because they wanted me to get it here against C-SD, our rival.”
Copper was glad he was able to get it out of the way early in the game so he could just focus on playing the rest of the evening. Cambridge-SD head coach Marty Bailey Jr. said the timing of the moment worked out well for both teams.
“He got it out of the way early and we were able to reset and try to play ball,” Bailey said. “He got it out of the way, he didn’t have to think about it all game long. I’m proud of him. He’s a good kid.”
Copper is the third in his family to score 1,000 points at North Dorchester. His older sister, Tiffany Cephas – now head coach of North Dorchester girls’ basketball team – achieved 1,000 points during her high school career. And his niece, Breisha Cephas, is a junior on the girls’ team, and topped 1,000 last season.
That history only added more meaning to the moment for Copper.
“It’s a big thing in my family because my niece and my sister achieved this milestone,” Copper said. “So for all three of our names to be on that banner, and to do this... It’s just huge.”
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