WELCOME TO THE CLUB: Profile’s Robie hits 2K mark in playoffs

By Mike Whaley

Honestly, the first thing that Josh Robie felt when he reached the 2,000-point milestone on Thursday night in a 58-33 win over Portsmouth Christian Academy in the Division IV boys basketball quarterfinals was, well, happy to get it out of the way.

The Profile senior guard moved past the 2K plateau with a left-handed layup in the fourth quarter of the playoff win, scoring 21 points. That, along with 22 points from junior Cayden Wakeham, helped the unbeaten No. 1 Patriots (20-0) reach the D-IV semis set for Monday night at Bedford HS (7:30 p.m.) against No. 4 Farmington (17-3). No. 2 Littleton and No. 6 Woodsville, the defending champion, play in the earlier semi at 5:30 p.m.

“It’s honestly a relief to get it over with,” Robie said. “Going into the final four it’s going to be a huge game, so it’s nice to get it over with. I can just focus on winning games.”

Robie is the first NH player to reach that milestone since Mascoma Valley’s current girls’ coach, Tonya Young, capped her career with the Royals in 2007, ending with 2,112 points. He is the first boy to hit the mark going back 25 years when former Concord HS and NBA star Matt Bonner and Kearsarge’s Steve Lavolpicelo did so in 1999.  Robie is the 12th NH boy to hit the milestone and the 17th player overall to join the elite club. He is also the first player from the state’s North Country to reach 2,000.

Courtesy: Chris Laclair, Chris Clicks Photography

“It’s great to have that done before we get to the final four,” said coach Mitchell Roy. “PCA is a great defensive team. They probably guarded as well if not better than anybody else. I’m like ‘he’s 16 away, that’s going to get it.’ But 16 is not 4 or 2.” That said, there was some drama as Robie didn’t reach the mark until the fourth quarter.

It was a different situation for Robie scoring 2,000 than 1,000. When he hit the 1K mark at the Farmingron holiday tournament in 2022, he didn’t know how close he was, so he felt there was no pressure on him. That was not the case Thursday. He knew he was 16 points away from 2,000 coming into the game. “You can say ‘don’t think about it.’” he said. “But it’s hard not to think about it.”

As Robie recalled, a lot of his points came from the free throw line. “It was a weird night,” he said. The milestone hoop came with 5:52 to play in the fourth quarter. Jackson Clough rebounded a missed PCA shot and pitched it quickly out to Robie at halfcourt on the left. He drove in for the lefty layup for his 16th and 17th point of the night and the 2,000th and 2,001st of his career. “It was a sigh of relief,” the 6-foot senior said. He has 2,005 points going into Monday, tied with Fall Mountain’s Jayson Waysville (1994).

Courtesy: Chris Laclair, Chris Clicks Photography

Some NH 2,000-pointers offered their congratulations through video messaging to Ball 603, including unofficial club chairman, Keith Friel, who played at Oyster River HS and later at Notre Dame and Virginia. “Congratulations on all the years of sacrifice by you, your family, coaches, teammates, and lastly your community. Good luck in the playoffs and keep it going.”

“It hasn’t been accomplished (by a boy) since the profile of the Old Man of the Mountain was still standing 25 years ago,” said Bonner, who scored 2,459 points at Concord HS, played in college at the University of Florida, and in the NBA with the Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs. “I know first hand how hard it is to do that with eight minute quarters and no shot clock. So congratulations Josh and best of luck for whatever life has in store for you, and live free or die.”

“Congratulations on this great accomplishment and great feat that not a lot of people have done,” said Young, the last NH hoopster to hit 2K 17 years ago. She later played at the University of Vermont. “Enjoy it. It’s so good in the moment and good luck in the future.”

David Burrows is the all-time state scoring leader with 2,845 points. “I too played for a D-IV school and I’m pretty confident that your fans and teammates are really enjoying this. You should enjoy it as well,” said Burrows, who graduated from Nute High School in 1990, leading the Rams to the Class S/D-IV title that year. He also scored in excess of 1,000 points at Bryant University. “Congratulations again. Good luck in the tournament and welcome to the club. Shooters shoot.”

Courtesy: Chris Laclair, Chris Clicks Photography

Robie has played for the Patriots since he was in eighth grade, something that only D-IV players are allowed to do. He scored right around 120 points that year, but played just 10 games his freshman year. The lion’s share of his points have come over the last three seasons. “When he got a thousand, you kind of knew he could get it,” said Roy. “But we’ve been very fortunate to be healthy. … It’s crazy to think that he has 2,000 and Alex Leslie is going to finish right around 1,500. That’s a lot when you see that in one class of kids. While we have almost 3,500 points in scoring between those two guys, neither of them led us in scoring last night in our quarterfinal win.”

While Profile counts on Robie to score, that has shifted as he’s gotten older and more of his teammates have grown into scoring roles. “I’ve been trying to find the right balance in winning games, which is our No. 1 priority, and trying to play at the right pace for myself,” Robie said. “I’m just trying to do what’s best for the team. My 2,000 points, that comes after winning games.”

“If you look at games when I was younger, I was probably forcing it more than I should have,” Robie said. “This year, I’m letting it come to me a lot more. My team finds me when I’m open. They give me confidence. Coaches give me confidence. The work that I put in, my teammates just believe in me out there.”

Courtesy: Chris Laclair, Chris Clicks Photography

Robie led D-IV in scoring, averaging right around 26 points per game, but it could have been a lot more. “I’ve held him back significantly,” coach Roy said. “We used to just say go, go, go. We weren’t as good, so I was kind of letting him do whatever he wanted because we were a young team and I was trying to help him gain his confidence. It’s tough, but he could score way more than I’m letting him. … He knows for him to get more open, and shots that we need now that are good shots for us, he needs his teammates to show up.”

That scoring balance is readily apparent. Leslie is averaging 20 points as the team’s No. 2 scorer, but it doesn’t stop there. Wakeham is right around 14 ppg and Robie’s brother, Karsen, is averaging a shade under 9 ppg. It also helps that the key players are now juniors and seniors. “We have a lot of weapons,” Roy said. “It forces them to get out of their box-and-one, get out of their zone or their triangle-and-two. It’s great because we can then play against man to man and Josh can really show off what he does as a player. It allows him to be more free because those other guys are huge pieces. It’s a lot more fun than having Josh score 30 instead of 40 now. I think they would all agree.”

Robie concurs. “I think as a team it’s gotten a lot better,” he said. “Last I remember in the playoffs in our loss to Woodsville we were basically going through me and Alex. We had a lot of other players who really weren’t doing a whole lot. Then you look at this year, when we played Woodsville, you get the ball to Karsen, it’s almost an automatic 3 every time. You have Cayden who can get by his defender and you have Riley (Plante) and Jackson (Clough) who are out there and clean up on the boards. It’s a big step forward. Those guys add a lot out there.”

Courtesy: Chris Laclair, Chris Clicks Photography

Roy, like Robie, is glad the milestone is out of the way. “It has been a distraction in a way,” Roy said. “It’s probably distracted me more than it distracted Josh. I have to make the decision when we’re up a good amount in a game, should I play him and risk his health out there or should I hold him back and avoid him from getting this milestone. I’ve got a lot of negativity from people; even this year. Our first-round game, there were comments online that we were still shooting, up 40 points (they beat Epping, 79-21, and Robie scored 34). They don’t understand, it’s the tournament. Some people think we take it too seriously. I think you’ve got to be really focused to be competitive. We’re going to keep that focus as we play a great Farmington team.”

“Aside from the shooting prowess, which is obviously pretty special, I’m really impressed with his focus,” said Farmington coach Adam Thurston. “I don’t think I’ve seen the kid smile in three years; just the way he carries himself on the court and developed his overall game. The fact that you have to account for him every single second of every single possession. I don’t think we’ve really had a player in the division since we’ve been in D-IV that’s garnered that much attention.”

Josh Robie will have Farmington’s full attention Monday night as Profile looks to advance to the championship for the first time in 20 years when the Patriots won the program’s only title in 2004.

2K TIDBITS: Three schools have two 2K scorers – Epping’s Kerry Bascom and Ryan Gatchell; Nute’s Julie Donlon and David Burrows, and Kearsarge’s Tom Brayshaw and Steve Lavolpicelo.

Two players scored their 2,000th point in a state championship game. Fall Mountain’s Jayson Waysville did it in his final high school game in the 1994 Class M final, a 67-55 win over Inter-Lakes. Burrows actually hit 2,000 in the last game of his junior year, a 58-39 loss to Epping in the Class S championship. Burrows scored 30 of his team’s 39 points. He did come back as a senior to lead the Rams to the state title, beating Wilton-Lyndeborough for the crown, 56-45. He scored 149 points in four playoff games, a state record across all divisions that still stands.

Here is a list of 2K players to play on a state championship team or teams and the year(s) they did it: Burrows, Nute (1990), Karen Wood, Henniker (1981, 1982, 1983, 1984); Gatchell, Epping (1989, 1991, 1992); Matt Alosa, Pembroke (1991); Bonner, Concord (1997, 1998, 1999); Kerry Bascom, Epping (1985); Scott Drapeau, Merrimack Valley (1989, 1990); Friel, Oyster River (1995, 1996); Young, Mascoma (2004), and Waysville, Fall Mountain (1994).

Many of the Division IV/Class S players like Robie played as eighth graders, the only division where it is possible to play on the varsity before high school.

Watch as Granite State legends welcome Josh Robie to the 2,000-point club…