Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

March 17, 2014

Newton's Stone looks back at 1K milestone

Alex McNamee
Effingham Daily News

NEWTON — Luke Stone’s first dunk in a game was an alley-oop, against Casey-Westfield in January, that set off a roar from the crowd and made noise on social media the next couple days.

“All four years that I’ve played, I’ve never heard (the Newton High School gym) get that loud,” Stone said. “Brock (Mammoser) spoiled me with a pass because it was a perfect pass. Then, to come over (Casey-Westfield) and get the win, it was just awesome.”

The Associated Press All-State honorable mention reached 1,000 points in his career, averaging more than 17 points per game this season for the 21-win Newton squad.

He eclipsed the scoring mark during the Little Illini Conference Tournament against Oblong in January, before an ailing back injury kept him from playing the rest of the tournament.

Stone re-aggravated a back fracture this season that he suffered as a sophomore. He missed four or five games this season and barely practiced in the last two months of the season.

“Physically, it was tougher and mentally it was tougher,” Stone said. “When’s it going to give you? How bad could it get? We tried to keep as much pressure off of it as we could.”

Besides wearing a back brace for a short time at the beginning of his junior season, the injury didn’t bother Stone last season. He said he took a couple hard falls this season that brought the pain back.

Stone scored 30 points in his last game, a Robinson Regional matchup against Teutopolis. The loss ended his career, but he added another distinction to his success this week with an All-State honorable mention.

“It’s a real nice feeling,” Stone said. “I was honestly pretty shocked. I didn’t think I’d get anything.”

He averaged 17.3 points, 10 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game this season, earning All-LIC honors and leading the Eagles to the Dieterich Holiday Tournament championship.

Points never mattered to Stone, who led his team in scoring, but he said being on the list of 1,000-point scorers is overwhelming and joyful.

“I can remember these four years and the little kids coming up to me and looking up to me,” Stone said. “It’s kind of a weird feeling. Being in high school, I still look up to the great college and professional players. To have little kids thinking the same thing about me — it’s an honor.”

Stone’s college plans are still undecided, but he said he would like to play basketball in college. He wants to enter a chiropractic program in college, fitting after the way this season went for his back.

Alex McNamee can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or alex.mcnamee@effinghamdailynews.com.