ANDERSON, Ind. — With 3:53 remaining in the third quarter, the Liberty Christian student section erupted into cheers Monday night.
Junior Chris Nunn, standing at the free throw line awaiting his second shot, briefly was perplexed. But that stands to reason.
The Lions' versatile leader seldom is comfortable as the center of attention.
The cheers soon were followed by a timeout, and Nunn was joined on the court by his mother to celebrate reaching the 1,000-point plateau. Nunn calmly sank the second free throw following the timeout, and Liberty Christian (10-4) held off a late fourth-quarter charge to knock off Madison-Grant 69-56.
Nunn finished with a game-high 21 points and now has 1,008 in his 65-game varsity career.
"It feels so good," Nunn said with a broad smile confirming that fact. "I was talking about it earlier with my mom, and she was telling me not to be nervous and just to play my game."
Nunn's game always has been about so much more than simply scoring, and Monday was no exception. His quick hands on defense keyed an 11-0 run that gave the Lions control in the second quarter, and he finished with nine steals and nine assists.
His 3-pointer from midcourt at the halftime buzzer gave Liberty Christian a 32-20 lead, and that advantage grew to 50-30 at the end of the third quarter.
But the Argylls (6-8) refused to go away quietly.
Aaron Dreaden scored all 11 of his points in the fourth quarter — shooting a perfect 5-for-5 from the field — and Madison-Grant pulled within 10 at 63-53 with 1:46 to play.
Then Nunn used his speed to break the Argylls' press and found senior Preston Quinn — who also joined the 1,000-point club earlier this season — underneath the basket for a layup that led to a traditional three-point play.
Quinn finished with 13 points, and sophomore Franklin Nunn matched that total to give the Lions three players in double figures.
"We closed the game tonight a little sloppy," Liberty Christian coach Jason Chappell said. "But that's to be expected when you play three games in four days."
The Lions completed a three-game sweep after beating Crispus Attucks on Friday night and Elwood on Saturday afternoon and have won four in a row overall.
Madison-Grant had a two-game winning streak snapped but saw four players reach double figures. Junior Tanner Wise — a 6-foot-9 center — led the way with 18 points, senior Matt Carey added 11 and junior Aaron Patton had 10 to join Dreaden.
But the star of the night was Liberty Christian's point guard. He finished 6-of-11 from the field and 8-of-10 at the free-throw line.
As he spoke after the game, Nunn held a game ball to commemorate his 1,000-point achievement. But his focus remained on the four banners at the other corner of the gym.
The Lions have won sectional championships in each of the past two seasons and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Class A tournament. The ultimate objective is a trip to Bankers Life Fieldhouse and a chance to play for a state title.
"It's the same goal this year," Nunn said. "But this time we plan to go all the way."