Top of the charts: QU men’s basketball signee breaks SHG’s career scoring record


Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin's Jake Hamilton, who has signed a national letter of intent with Quincy University, recently became the Cyclones' all-time leading scorer. | Photo courtesy Greg Puckel

QUINCY — The way the numbers added up, Jake Hamilton needed one more shot at history.

So Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin boys basketball coach Tim Allen obliged.

With a sizable second-half lead over North Chicago in the opening round of the State Farm Holiday Classic on December 27, Allen was set to sub out all of his starters, including Hamilton, the 6-foot-3 senior who was closing in on the program’s career scoring record.

“He wanted to save our legs for the next game,” Hamilton said.

Yet, before Hamilton could exit, the Cyclones reminded their head coach about the record and just how close Hamilton was to breaking it. So Allen kept the Quincy University signee in the game for another possession.

Hamilton delivered. His 3-pointer 38 seconds after SHG subbed out the other starters broke Dick Schofield’s scoring record which had stood since 1981, giving Hamilton 1,327 points, 19 of which came in the 77-28 victory.

“Thanks to my teammates reminding him, Coach was OK with it, which was cool,” Hamilton said.

Scholfield was a three-sport athlete at Griffin High School who earned all-state honors in both basketball and baseball and played on a state championship golf team. He was the third pick in the 1981 Major League Baseball amateur draft and spent 14 seasons in the big leagues, nine of those with the California Angels.

So surpassing a Springfield Hall of Famer on the scoring charts is a significant moment.

“It means a lot. It was a lot of hard work, a lot of early mornings and late nights,” Hamilton said of breaking the scoring record. “It’s something I’ve been working at all offseason with my teammates and by myself. A lot of work went into it, that’s what I can say.”

It’s what has earned him a spot as the centerpiece of Quincy University’s recruiting class and the ability to play stress-free throughout his senior season.

“A lot of guys have to go out and play to earn opportunities to play in college,” Hamilton said. “I don’t have to do that at the moment. I can just go out there and play with no pressure. It feels nice. I can go out and play like I’ve been playing all year.”

That’s at a high level.

Hamilton is averaging 18.2 points and 5.2 rebounds during the Cyclones’ 12-0 start. He is shooting 56 percent from the floor and 42 percent from 3-point range ahead of Friday night’s state-ranked showdown with Decatur MacArthur.

SHG is ranked No. 2 in the latest Class 3A state poll, while MacArthur, which beat Quincy High School in the championship game of the Collinsville Prairie Farms Holiday Classic, is No. 5 in Class 3A.

Hamilton’s toughness and winning attitude, as much as his scoring ability, that attracted the Hawks. He helped the Cyclones win the Class 3A state championship last winter and played a pivotal part in the SHG’s Class 4A state football championship last fall.

A starting wide receiver, Hamilton caught 31 passes for 493 yards and four touchdowns, including a 28-yard touchdown grab that gave the Cyclones the lead for good in their 44-20 victory over New Lenox Providence in the title game.

“Hopefully we’re able to do the same thing this winter,” Hamilton said of winning a state title.

The pursuit of that comes with the pressure of being the defending state champions.

“I feel like there’s a little pressure, especially in the conference,” Hamilton said. “You know every team is going to come to get you and every game for other teams it might be their biggest game of the year. The pressure is us staying focused and coming out every game and giving our best effort and showing everyone what kind of team we are.”

It’s the attitude he will bring to Quincy.

The Hawks are 8-5 overall and 4-1 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference following Thursday night’s 85-74 victory at Truman State, and Hamilton sees the progress being made in the first year under head coach Steve Hawkins.

“I like the toughness of the players,” Hamilton said.

Moreso, he found a future home where he’s wanted and comfortable.

“During the summer, I’d be playing in tournaments in Indianapolis or further away and they’d be at almost every single game,” Hamilton said. “That meant a lot. That means coaches really want you. That’s what I was looking for in a college — coaches that want you and a good opportunity to play. Thanks to them, that’s happening. They were always reaching out, always asking me how I was doing. It made me feel great about them.”

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