On December 29, Tyson Powers reached a milestone that all high school basketball players strive to achieve. But it wasn't the 1,000-point mark that Powers had been looking forward to most.
With his 32-point game in the Amboy Clippers' closing victory at the Eastland tournament, Powers moved into the top seven on the all-time Amboy scoring list. He moved past a very familiar name: his father, Dean.
"It means a lot to pass Dad," Tyson Powers said, smiling at his father standing a few feet away. "We've joked around about it for years, ever since we got basketball camp t-shirts when I was a kid that had all the school records on them. I was always hoping I'd have the chance to pass him one day, but it's still a little surreal to think that I've actually done it.
"I never thought it would happen, and I've been fortunate to play 4 years of basketball with some great coaching and great teammates. There are a lot of people who have helped me out a lot and been a big part of this."
Last Friday, with his seventh effort of 20-plus points in Amboy's first 16 games, Powers passed another family member and moved into the scoring list's top five. His 26 points in a win over Morrison shot him past his cousin, Derek Lovgren – who was in attendance – and current Oregon football coach John Bothe.
Amboy (6-10) has won three straight games after losing nine of 10, and Tyson has scored in double figures in 14 of the Clippers' 16 games. In addition to those seven 20-point games, he also has a pair of 30-point efforts. His 313 points this season have vaulted him from outside the top 12 into fifth on the school's scoring list.
It's keeping up a family tradition for Powers. Besides his father and cousin being among the Clippers' all-time scoring top 10, his cousin Paige Lovgren is the all-time leading scorer among Amboy girls with 1,039; Tyson is three points shy of that mark. Another cousin and classmate, Brooke Lovgren, is fifth on the all-time girls scoring list with 501 points through Tuesday.
"I'm more proud of him than I was of my own accomplishments," said Dean Powers, who graduated in 1981 with 986 points. "Having Tyson and his cousins all have such great careers, it's just as rewarding for us parents as it is for them. We've enjoyed watching them all play, and it's been a fun thing to help them enjoy all they've been able to accomplish."
Powers was born into the Amboy program. Dean coached the Clippers from 1998-2003, when the then-toddler-turned-kindergartner Tyson spent quite a bit of time on the sideline during Amboy practices and games.
Even after Dean resigned as the boys coach, Tyson remained a fixture as a ballboy for the Clippers' basketball and football teams. When he wasn't cheering Amboy on, the youngster and his cousins would spend countless hours playing basketball in the Amboy gym.
"We started them early, and they were all gym rats," Dean Powers said, referring to his son, nephew and nieces. "They were fortunate to have access to the gym, with me as a coach there, and they took advantage of it."
Tyson and Paige and Brooke Lovgren have all been 4-years varsity players, while Derek Lovgren was a 3-year varsity guy who came up at the end of his freshman season before playing on Amboy's regional title team in 2007. Dean Powers was also a 3-year varsity player from 1978-79 through 1980-81, playing on the Clipper team that lost by one point to Putnam County in a 1981 sectional game, as well as on Amboy's back-to-back state runner-up football teams in 1979 and 1980. He went on to play 2 years of basketball at Illinois Valley Community College.
Nobody whose been around Tyson throughout the years – his dad, longtime Amboy boys and girls basketball coach Mike McCracken, or current Amboy coach Chase Goodeill – is surprised he has reached such heights.
"I always figured he'd crack 1,000," said McCracken, whose son, Jaron, is the Clippers' all-time leading scorer with 2,256 points. "I always figured he'd be a scorer, even though he was a little more of a point guard when he was younger. He never had his dad's size, but he has quickness his dad never had, and with all the time he spent watching Derek through the years, it's not surprising at all what he's done."
"He's a typical coach's son: he understands the game and knows how important the small things are and how to do it all," Goodeill said. "He can score in a multitude of ways – he can shoot, drive, post up, get putbacks, play with both the right and left hands – and he keeps plays alive and makes a difference with his hustle. Having been around and seen some of the guys who came before him, he's always wanted to be part of that tradition."
Tyson, with all the Amboy games he's watched and old war stories he's heard from his dad and uncle, Jeff Lovgren, appreciates his name being among the best in program history more than most others would.
"Seeing so many great players go through here, knowing my dad and the guys he played with, it means a lot to be part of that history here," Tyson said. "It's been a big help to be around this program so long, and I definitely understand what a big deal this is."
After his high-school playing days are over, Tyson more than likely won't hit the hardwood competitively again; he hopes to play baseball in college, or maybe attend a smaller school and play both baseball and football.
But for now, he's not worried about the big picture. Tyson says he'll worry about celebrating his career when the season's over, or maybe not even until he graduates this spring. As for right now, all that matters to Powers is helping the Clippers win games, and making a postseason run.
After losing to Indian Creek in the regional finals as a freshman and sophomore, Tyson would love nothing more than to match his cousin Derek's regional title and maybe match his dad's sectional appearance.
"I'll worry about this stuff later on," Tyson said. "In the middle of the season, there's just so much else going on, I'll have fun looking back at the end of the year and thinking about what it all really means. Right now, though, I want this season to last as long as possible; hopefully, we can make it back to the regional finals – and win one this time."
"I know I speak for Tyson when I say this," Dean added, "but we'd both give up all the points for a few more wins in our careers. He's got a couple more months to add to his resume, and I know he's going to push as hard as he can to make the most of it."
Sports: Football, basketball, baseball
FYI: 4-year varsity player recently scored his 1,000th career point, and is now 5th on the Clippers' all-time scoring list with 1,036 points. … His father, Dean, and cousin, Derek Lovgren, are also among the top 8 all-time scorers. … Cousin Paige Lovgren is Amboy's all-time girls scorer with 1,039 points, and cousin Brooke Lovgren is 5th with 501 points. ... Quarterbacked the Clippers to the Class 3A quarterfinals this fall.
Amboy's all-time scoring leaders
1. Jaron McCracken2,256
2. Jim Mason1,569
3. Joe Bothe1,324
4. Chris Payne1,043
5. Tyson Powers1,036*
6. John Bothe1,018
7. Derek Lovgren1,013
8. Dean Powers986
9. Derek Jacobson893
10. Rick Considine865