Boys basketball: L-P’s Josh Senica reaches 1,000 points in win over Hall

Cavalier senior is 19th L-P player to hit milestone

L-P"s Josh Senica gets a hug from his father and head coach John Senica after scoring 1000 points on Tuesday, Nov., 28, 2023 in AJ Sellett Gymnasium at L-P High School.

Entering Tuesday’s nonconference game, La Salle-Peru senior Josh Senica needed 26 points to reach 1,000 for his career.

Going into the fourth quarter, he had 13 points.

“He was very unselfish in the first half,” L-P coach John Senica said of his son, who had four assists in the first 16 minutes. “Before the game, I said I want to play the same way. I said I don’t want him favored to take any extra shots, but I also told Josh to take shots. He just didn’t do it in the first half. At the end of the third quarter, I had to say something to him.”

Josh Senica responded, draining three 3-pointers and scoring 13 points in the final eight minutes to reach the milestone in the Cavaliers’ 73-51 victory over Hall.

“It feels good,” Josh Senica said. “I’m in shock. I didn’t know I had that many until this year, honestly. It feels good to get that under my belt.”

Senica reached 1,000 points when he knocked down a 3 with 2:36 left. He is the 19th L-P player to reach the milestone and the first since Drake Weber in 2021.

L-P's Josh Senica scores his 1000th point on this shot against Hall on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023 in AJ Sellett Gymnasium at L-P High School.

“I knew I was close,” Josh Senica said about going to the fourth quarter. “So I was like, ‘I’m going to shoot and hopefully I get hot.’ Coach kind of set up some plays for me to get open, so it was nice.”

After his 3 went through the net, the game was stopped while the fans cheered, L-P athletic director Steve Hanson gave a short speech to recognize the feat and John Senica presented a commemorative ball to his son at half court.

“I knew I was close. So I was like, ‘I’m going to shoot and hopefully I get hot.’ Coach kind of set up some plays for me to get open, so it was nice.”

—  Josh Senica, La Salle-Peru senior

“It meant the world to me,” John Sencia said of the opportunity to give Josh the ball. “He’s worked so hard through the years, especially these last four years. He’s put a lot of time and effort into it and I’m very happy for him because he deserves it.”

John Senica said his son’s ability to score in different ways helps make him such a dangerous offensive weapon.

“I think what makes Josh such a good scorer is he’s so versatile,” John Senica said. “He can drive to the basket. He’s so big, so he could just post up. And he can hit the 3. That’s what he’s really worked on. He had the inside game the last couple years, but this past year and the end of last season, he really worked on the 3-point shot and it’s really started to show.”

Josh Senica said enjoyed hitting the milestone at home. The L-P student section pulled out headshots of Senica on sticks and several posters to celebrate the achievement.

“It was nice to have all the fans here,” Josh Senica said. “It was a fun time.”

The game was tight early as the teams traded baskets throughout the first half with L-P taking a 12-10 lead after eight minutes.

L-P pushed its lead to double digits with a 10-2 run to start the second quarter and led 33-19 at halftime.

However, the Red Devils rallied in the third quarter as Payton Dye drained three 3-pointers and scored 11 points in the quarter as Hall got as close as 39-31.

Hall's Payton Dye sinks a three point shot over L-P's Seth Adams on Tuesday, Nov., 28, 2023 in AJ Sellett Gymnasium at L-P High School.

“The second half we played really well,” Hall coach Mike Filippini said. “The first half we were 1 for 16 from then 3-point line and had 10 turnovers. Then the second half we shot 40% from the 3-point line. We kind of live and die by the 3. The first half we died by it and that pretty much killed the game. But I was really happy with the second half effort. We never quit. We played hard. We kept telling them in the locker room (at halftime) to keep doing what we did in the first half and they executed. Payton got hot and we got some back cuts going.

“L-P is a 3A team. They’re 5-0. For 3 1/2 quarters, we played right with them, so I’m happy with that. I’m happy with our man-to-man defense. We gave up 73 points, but that’s one of the best teams on our schedule. If we keep playing like that, we’ll be fine.”

After Hall’s rally, Eric Sotelo scored on an assist from Seth Adams then drained a 3, and Senica scored on back-to-back possessions to extend the L-P lead to 48-35.

The Cavs led 52-35 after three quarters and led by as many as 23 points in the fourth.

“Hall did a great job,” John Senica said. “They’re a good ballclub. Coach Filippini had them ready for us. The first half, they caught us on our toes. They hit some nice shots and they were playing tough.

“We picked up the intensity (after Hall’s rally in the third). Defensively, I went to a 2-2-1. We wanted to try to throw something different at them because their guys were tired. They did a really good job of breaking that and they got some nice 3s out of that. So we had to to back to man and I think our guys realized, ‘Hey, they’re here to play. We have to pick this up.’”

Senica had his fifth double-double of the season with 26 points and 10 rebounds for L-P (5-0), while Sotelo had nine points and Adams and Nolan Van Duzer added eight each.

Dye finished with 20 points for Hall (3-2), while Braden Curran added eight.