Anyone who’s ever told Thomas Baxter that he’s got a point is selling the Thunder Mountain High School junior well over 1,000 points short.
On Feb. 9, Baxter became just the fifth Falcon to score 1,000 points over the course of a high school career, and the fastest in school history to reach the mark.
“It’s a huge achievement for any high school kid, but to do it as a junior is something very few do,” said coach John Blasco following a Thursday night win against Palmer High School, in which Baxter scored 22 points. “I’m proud of the kid, the fact that he can do it as a junior, and not even all the way through the year.”
Baxter said he isn’t sure which shot in an away game against Lathrop High School put him over the threshold — “I was just playing in the moment,” he said — but he’s glad to have accomplished a long-held goal.
“It’s been a goal since freshman year, and it’s something I’ve been working for,” Baxter said. “Coach Matty (Matt Seymour) holds the scoring record, and that’s obviously what I’m going for in the long run.”
Seymour, an assistant coach for TMHS, set the school record with 1,158 points scored from 2010 to 2014. He said it’s rewarding to be part of a passing of the torch and praised Baxter’s work ethic.
“The kid is super competitive, and excited to come into the gym every day and get better, and I think that’s what got him to this point, just the hard work he’s put in over the years, and I’m proud of him,” Seymour said. “And I’m sure he will eclipse me soon.”
The numbers back up Seymour’s assessment and suggest Baxter, who is averaging 17.8 points per game this season, has an excellent shot at reaching the top of Thunder Mountain’s all-time scoring list.
During a Friday night pre-game ceremony recognizing Baxter’s milestone, Blasco said that since reaching 1,000 points, Baxter had moved past Brady Carandang (1,036 points from 2016 to 2020) and Jacob Calloway (1,038 points from 2012 to 2015) to become the Falcons’ No. 3 all-time scorer.
That was before Baxter put up 25 points in a Friday night win and 21 points in a Saturday loss both against Ketchikan to reach 1,103 points. That puts him just behind TMHS assistant coach Chase Saviers, who scored 1,110 points from 2013 to 2017, and 56 points from breaking the record.
Saviers said it’s been rewarding to see Baxter and the TMHS junior class develop as a whole — the class of 2024 were freshmen for Saviers’ first year coaching — and that he’s long known Baxter would be a special scorer.
Saviers recalled seeing Baxter playing basketball at the Alaska Club ahead of Baxter’s freshman season and immediately recognizing someone who had the potential to rewrite record books.
“It was that apparent that early,” Saviers said. “I mean he was dunking going into his year at TM. I said, ‘Look, if you put in the work, like I know you will, I think you can be the all-time leading scorer at Thunder Mountain.’”
Baxter has the remainder of this season — which will feature at least two regular season game plus the Region V tournament— and all of next season to make good on that prediction.
“I’m excited,” Baxter said.
• Contact Ben Hohenstatt at (907)308-4895 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.