RAYLAND - Every morning as Brennan Czuchran enters Buckeye Local High School, he takes a break at the trophy case in the first floor commons area before heading to his locker.
"There's two girls in that trophy case with 1,000-point balls," Czuchran said. "I'd always look at that as I pass by and I'd picture myself with my own ball near theirs."
With his first basket in a 16-point performance against West Holmes on Feb. 25, Czuchran reached the 1,000-point mark for his career to join Kristen King and Jill Kamerer in the milestone club, as well as the Panthers' trophy case.
Czuchran, a senior, is the leading scorer in Buckeye Local boys basketball history.
"Now it's going to be pretty cool when I go to school and actually see my ball in the trophy case with my picture next to it," he said.
In the meantime, the ball, which was switched out at the first stoppage of play during that Division II sectional game played at Zanesville High School, sits on a shelf in his bedroom.
"Sometimes when I get bored I'll dribble it around and think about hitting that shot," Czuchran said.
Reaching 1,000 points was his goal since he started for the Panthers as a freshman on a team littered with juniors and seniors.
"I actually calculated it before my first varsity game," he said. "You need to average 15 points per game for four years and you'll reach 1,000 points."
Czuchran averaged just two points per game as a freshman.
"I knew I'd have to get better and put in a lot of work just to have the opportunity to score that many," he said. "I was pretty much just doing the dirty work sophomore year. I'd get rebounds, outlet the ball, play defense and I didn't have to worry about scoring too much that year."
As a junior, Czuchran became a leading scorer with Kyle Michalo, who set the single-game scoring record with a 39-point output against Barnesville.
"We were like a two-headed snake," Czuchran said. "After my junior season, we looked at the numbers and found that I only needed to average 20 and a half points per game to get to 1,000.
"That's when I realized that I should get it."
Still, it was the growing pains as a freshman and sophomore, and the taste of scoring success as a junior, that allowed Czuchran to become the strong shooter and all-around player he is today.
"It pretty much just prepared me for what I had to do this year," he said. "I was able to sit back and watch the guys in front of me play and see how physical they were. I never really had to control the game myself before I was ready to.
"Once I hit this year, with the three years of varsity experience, I knew what to expect and it just made me a better player."
In his first year coaching the Panthers, 30-year old Greg Haberfield couldn't have asked for a better leader, role model and star player for his team.
"I knew what kind of player he was and I got to know him well over the summer in a more one-on-one manner," said Haberfield. "What a great person to really lift our program.
"He's another coach on the floor and that really helps out. He's always coaching up his teammates while they're playing. He's a huge player."
Haberfield believes Czuchran will only get better at the next level. The 6-foot-3 student-athlete with a 3.9 GPA has his college choices narrowed down to Capital, Marietta, Ohio Weslyan and Wooster.
"He might grow an inch or two and he'll get quicker and stronger and his shot will get even better," Haberfield said. "He's definitely going to be missed here, not just from a scoring aspect, but as a teammate."
That's what Czuchran will miss the most, too.
"I'm going to miss being in the locker room with the guys I grew up with the most," he said. "I had a lot of fun with those guys this year. It was great to grow close with them."
He plans to decide on where he will play in college sometime this month. He will major in accounting.
"I really want to be successful," he said. "In 10 years I want to be settled down, ready to start a family and set with my career."
Down the road, that could include a career back on the hardwood.
The sidelines, rather.
"All the coaches that I've had have taught me so much about the game of basketball," Czuchran said. "I have considered coaching once I get my feet wet with my career."