Boys Basketball: Pecarich reaches 1,000 points in blowout win of Apollo
Brainerd hosts St. Cloud Apollo Friday, Feb. 3.
BRAINERD — It was a milestone night for Johnny Pecarich Friday, Feb. 3.
The Brainerd senior guard scored a layup with 2:47 left in the first half to become the 13th boys’ basketball player in Warrior history to reach 1,000 career points.
The last player to reach 1,000 points was Joey Sauer in 2019.
“It’s been a dream of mine growing up to reach 1,000 points,” Pecarich said after the game. “I got some pressure off my chest and started playing better after.”
Pecarich finished the game with a team-high 28 points, which helped the Warriors stay perfect in the Central Lakes Conference with a 98-63 win over the St. Cloud Apollo Eagles.
Pecarich said he didn’t feel nervous coming into the game, however, he missed six of his first seven shots.
“I wasn’t really nervous until I missed like my first five or six shots,” he said. “After I saw it go through the hoop, I started to get more confidence.”
He quickly caught fire to score nine straight points to reach the career milestone.
“It’s the culmination of the hard work he’s put in through the years,” Warriors head coach Charlie Schoeck said. “The kid has always been a gym rat. You’d go to (Central Lakes College) games and see him getting up shots at halftime. The guy just loves the game and to get some personal recognition like this is a big deal. It’s an exclusive club and he joins some really good company.”
After the game, Pecarich spent time signing autographs with elementary students. He added it meant to have the support of his teammates and family.
“It means a lot that people care,” he said. “It felt great.”
Schoeck added: “It’s a cool thing that everyone on the team wanted him to get there. They were looking for him early and it was fun to get that and celebrate that. The guys responded and kept up the intensity the rest of the game.”
The Warriors held a 49-32 lead at halftime and went on a 17-0 run to start the second half to break the game open.
Pecarich scored 15 of his 28 in the second half. Luke Diem hit 5-of-6 from the 3-point line to finish with 17 points.
Eli Hoelz nailed his first three 3s and finished with 11 points. Nick Evanson added 12 points and Jake Merseth 10.
Seniors Cayden Brown, Dawson Ringler and Eli Owen added 3-pointers as well for the Warriors, who shot 19-of-34 from downtown.
“I was really proud of the patience we showed against their zone,” Schoeck said. “It’s really easy to chuck the first shot you see against a 2-3 zone. So to work it around and find the best look, I thought we did a nice job.”
Apollo was led by Azayah Washington, who scored a game-high 36 points.
“He’s a lefty and he was just getting to his left hand way too easy,” Schoeck said. “We will look to do a better job of showing him more bodies.”
The Warriors travel to play Apollo for their next game Tuesday, Feb. 7.
“We were able to work in a few things today,” Schoeck said. “Like we don’t usually play a lot of zone. We will watch some film and see what’s feeling good.”
Apollo 32 31 — 63
Brainerd 49 49 — 98
Sakariya Mohamed 2, Azayah Washington 36, Saveon McGaughy 6, Da’Vion Jackson 8, Jupree Rogers 7. FG 28-69 (40%), FT 1-6 (17%). 3-point 6-30 (20%).
John Pecarich 28, Eli Hoelz 11, Nick Evanson 12, Eli Owen 3, Cayden Brown 3, Dawson Ringler 3, Jake Merseth 10, Luke Diem 17, Jonathan Benson 6, Garrett Gilbert 5. FG 39-65 (60%), FT 1-2 (50%). 3-point 19-34 (56%).
Warriors 98, Apollo 63
Key: Johnny Pecarich scored 28 points, including his 1,000th in his career, in a blowout win for Warriors.
Conference: Brd 9-0. SCA 0-9.
Overall: Brd 13-3, SCA 1-17.
Next: Brainerd at St. Cloud Apollo 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7.
CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/the_rad34.