Milestone moment: Central’s Estep scores 1,000th point in win over Clarke County

Central's Luke Estep prepares to make a move against Strasburg's Stephen Kloosterman during their Jan. 18 game in Strasburg. Estep scored his 1,000th point Friday against Clarke County. Rich Cooley/Daily

WOODSTOCK — Luke Estep has dreamed of scoring 1,000 points for a long time and on Friday night his dream came true.

The Central senior boys basketball player scored his 1,000th point in a 70-53 road victory over Clarke County.

“It’s a big relief,” Estep said on Monday afternoon. “It’s been a goal of mine for as long as I can remember. Ever since I was a little kid I imagined how great it would be to score 1,000 points. It’s really great. It’s a great feeling.”

Estep said he’s been thinking about the goal all season, and it felt great to finally reach it.

“It’s been weighing on me, thinking about whether I’m going to get it or not,” Estep said. “It was definitely a big relief. Now after that I can play more loose, and then hopefully pick up my intensity and quality of play.”

Central's Luke Estep dribbles the ball up court while Strasburg's Stephen Kloosterman runs to catch up during their Jan. 18 game. County on Friday. Rich Cooley/Daily

Estep needed 12 points entering the game, and said the coaching staff told him about it on Friday before the game.

Estep said the points came in the third quarter on an in-bounds play. Estep took the pass from point guard Jared Patton underneath the basket and made the layup to reach 1,000 points.

The game was halted so they could honor Estep and he took pictures with his family and the game ball.

Central coach Jeff Whittle said the entire team is happy for Estep.

“We are very proud of Luke (Estep),” Whittle said. “He has been a great leader this year on and off the court, and continues to work extremely hard as we prepare for a playoff run.”

Estep is second in the area in both scoring and rebounds. The 6-foot-3 forward is averaging 16.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. He is also averaging 1.4 assists per game.

Whittle said Estep is having a strong season, and is a big part of the team’s success this year.

“Luke has had a tremendous season, leading us in scoring and rebounding,” Whittle said. “And hopefully he can continue to produce down the stretch for us. He is a tremendous leader on and off the court, whether that’s leading by example or becoming vocal when he needs to.”

The victory over Clarke County was a big one for the Falcons. Central (18-3) won 15 straight games until losing to Madison County on Jan. 24 and then Sherando on Jan. 29.

The Falcons bounced back with two big wins last week. They defeated Bull Run District rival George Mason, 49-48, on Jan. 31 and then Clarke County on Friday.

Estep said he felt like the team lost its focus in the losses to Madison County and Sherando, but is back on track now.

“I think we picked up our play a lot after dropping two games to Madison and Sherando,” Estep said. “I feel like (the losses) motivated us. And hopefully it will continue to motivate us until we’re done with the playoffs.”

Estep and the rest of Central’s seniors will be honored before Wednesday’s game with Strasburg. A win would secure the Bull Run District title for the Falcons.

Estep’s big week will continue on Thursday. The school is holding a signing ceremony for him and Central girls track standout Brooke Ryman. Both athletes will be playing at Roanoke College next year.

Estep is headed to Roanoke College to play baseball and said he is excited for the opportunity. Estep said playing sports at the next level has always been a big dream for him.

He said he considered playing basketball in college, but playing baseball at Roanoke College was too good to pass up. Roanoke College advanced to the NCAA Final Four in baseball last season.

“It was always a toss-up between baseball and basketball, but I loved the Roanoke campus,” Estep said. “They’re a great team. I love the coach, coach (Matt) McGuire. So I feel happy with my decision.”