Highlands’ Luke Cochran reaches 1,000-point career milestone in win over Freeport

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Sunday, January 5, 2020 | 4:41 PM


Before Friday night’s game against Freeport, Highlands coach Tyler Stoczynski and senior guard Luke Cochran had a conversation about the section matchup.

Cochran needed 21 points to become the 10th player in program history to score 1,000 points in his career. Cochran was averaging 18.9 points, so the mark was within reach.

But, for Cochran, it wasn’t about the milestone. It was about earning a victory.

“I’m very excited for him,” Stoczynski said. “We had a conversation before the game, and he said ‘The first thing I’m worried about is making sure we get a win.’ I thought he was unselfish at times, and I also thought he was aggressive at times and picked us up when we needed it.”

After struggling with their outside shooting in the first quarter, the Golden Rams started to find alternative ways to score, and Cochran took over. He started penetrating the paint and finishing at the hoop while keeping his team ahead.

Cochran had 10 of Highlands’ 17 points in the second quarter, and the No. 1 Golden Rams took a seven-point lead into the half.

“We started off cold, but we didn’t let out heads sink and we just played,” Cochran said. “We found different ways to score. We started getting to the rim, getting to the free-throw line. You just have to find an alternate route when your shot isn’t falling, and that’s just what we did.”

After a layup and two free throws in the third quarter, Cochran was three points from the milestone, and 30 seconds into the fourth quarter, he got his opportunity.

Freshman guard Jimmy Kunst brought the ball up the court and passed to Cochran on the right-wing. Cochran got a screen from big man Wahkeem Roman, took one dribble to his left and made a 3-pointer for his 1,000th career point.

“It’s definitely something that was one for the books,” Cochran said. “I have a great team and family around me, so I’ve definitely had all the support in the world. But for my own personal accolades, it’s definitely one that I am going to hang up in the rafters for myself and I’ll carry on my shoulders.”

Cochran might not be the only Highlands player to reach 1,000 points this season. His childhood friend and teammate, Johnny Crise, is 113 points away from the milestone and is averaging 11.3 points with 11 regular-season games remaining.

The Golden Rams (10-1, 2-0) travel to Knoch on Tuesday for the first meeting of the season between the Section 1-4A opponents. They split their regular-season series last year and shared the section title.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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