Jerome Hunter of the Pickerington High School North boys basketball team said before this season that he could play with much less pressure because he committed to Indiana last summer.

The Panthers’ 6-foot-7 senior forward instead could focus on helping his team improve on last year’s Division I regional runner-up finish, not to mention passing a few milestones along the way.

Hunter scored his 1,000th career point Jan. 6 as North defeated visiting Beechcroft 67-55 in the fifth and final game of The Challenge.

Hunter passed the milestone on a slam dunk in the final minute of the first half. The game was stopped briefly as his accomplishment was announced.

“(To reach) 1,000 points in three years … that’s a big accomplishment,” Hunter said. “(Doing it) in three years, I don’t know what to say to that.”

Hunter finished with a game-high 29 points and now has 1,018 for his career as North improved to 8-2 and handed Beechcroft its first loss in nine games this year.

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave