Finally, Harvest Christian’s Vislisel gets to 1,000

Harvest Christian Academy senior John Vislisel’s frustration with the area’s unrelenting cold, snowy winter was warranted.

For 13 days the senior basketball player sat on 989 career points, patiently waiting for his chance to reach 1,000 in his fourth varsity season.

A snow day postponed one game.

Blowing snow and high winds wiped out the next one.

The Polar Vortex swallowed yet another.

“We’ve had three or four chances,” the 6-foot-7 center said. “Wake up in the morning? Game is canceled. Ahhhh, I’ve got to wait again.”

Though Thursday afternoon’s burst of snow and high winds forced the 24-hour postponement of a nearby nonconference game in Elgin between St. Edward and Kaneland, Faith Lutheran managed to travel from Marengo to Harvest Christian’s Elgin campus for the rescheduled Northeastern Athletic Conference game.

Sensing his chance had finally arrived, Vislisel wasted little time.

The Lions’ leading scorer posted 2 baskets in the first quarter and 4 more in the second. A quick post move to the hole with 4:33 left in the second quarter gave him 1,001 career points, making him the first player in program history to reach that plateau.

He finished with 28 points on 13-of-23 shooting and grabbed 12 rebounds in a 75-30 blowout as Harvest Christian (8-8, 2-3) won for the sixth time in 7 games.

“I was a little nervous. I had pregame jitters I just don’t get,” Vislisel said. “This is incredible. It’s just so great. I want to recognize my team, which has supported me the whole way. There’s no way I could have done it without them. It’s nice that we succeeded as a team and I was able to get (1,000) on the way. It’s huge.”

Momentum built in the second quarter as Vislisel’s teammates fed him the ball on three consecutive possessions leading up to the milestone.

“We knew he was pretty close to getting 1,000 points so we got him the ball as much as possible because we wanted to see him succeed,” 6-6 senior Dan Turpin said. “John actually is pretty humble even though he’s definitely our leading scorer. It’s really good to have a player that’s humble and can score at the same time.”

There were other highlights for Harvest Christian, which defeated Faith Lutheran (2-12, 0-3) for the second time this season. Turpin snared 9 rebounds, guard Brett Cramer had 7 points and 7 rebounds, guard Noah Fox added 7 points and the team received contributions off the bench from guards Riley Steiner (15 points) and Austin White (8 points). Even little-used junior Nathaniel Ellis scored his first varsity bucket to the delight of his supportive teammates.

But the night belonged to Vislisel. Play was halted after he scored his 1,000th point so athletic director David Lockwood could present him with the ball used to reach 1,000.

“It’s unbelievable,” second-year Harvest coach Jeff Boldog said. “Just to watch him mature over these past two years has been unbelievable. He’s really learned to let the game come to him and not be selfish. He’s found out that by being unselfish he’s actually scoring more points because he’s getting everyone else involved.

“He’s a big part of what we do. It all starts with him. When he’s playing like he’s playing and going to the basket hard, he’s tough to stop.”

Images: Harvest Christian vs. Faith Lutheran boys basketball

  Harvest Christian Academy Athletic Director David Lockwood hands the game ball to John Vislisel after Vislisel scored his 1,000th career point Thursday against Faith Lutheran in Elgin. John Starks/
  Harvest Christian Academy’s John Vislisel stretches for a rebound against Faith Lutheran Thursday in Elgin. John Starks/
  Harvest Christian Academy’s Riley Steiner leans into Faith Lutheran’s Andrew Tieman to draw the foul Thursday in Elgin. John Starks/
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