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Hess hits 1,000 career points, but disappointed with Tonawanda's loss

With one shot, Clayton Hess’ name will live on forever in Tonawanda basketball lore.

On Feb. 8, in the final seconds of a game against Lackawanna, Hess sank a free throw to complete a three-point play and become the third player in the history of Warriors boys basketball to reach the 1,000 career point mark.

Hess, who joins Tom Perkovich and former teammate and all-time leader Jesse Lalka, needed 29 points to reach the milestone mark.

Driving to the hoop, Hess not only made the bucket but he also drew a foul.

Hess stepped to the line and with “The Tribe” fan base chanting, ‘it’s for a thousand,’ Hess calmly sank his shot and earned his place among the Warrior greats.

Afterward, Hess had a different accomplishment on his mind.

“I’d rather get a good seeding in the playoffs and make it farther in the playoffs than get any records,” Hess said after the game.

A bittersweet night for Hess. Accomplishing the fete on Senior Night with his parents and sisters watching obviously made it special. But swallowing a 63-57 loss to rival Lackawanna made it tough to enjoy the moment.

When time is right, though, Hess knows he can reflect on an amazing ride as a Warrior.

“I definitely couldn’t do it without my team and my coaching. Coach (Hank) Hughes,” Hess said. “It’s all about coaching and I’m glad my teammates gave me the ball tonight...I definitely like that sound of the crowd erupting and to be able to put a smile on my parents’ face and have my family all here for it and my friends.”

Getting out to a bit of a slow start in the game, Hess was a man on a mission in the fourth quarter as he scored 15 points to lead a Warriors’ comeback that fell short.

“I really wanted to win this game,” Hess said. “I felt we could have upset this team, but it didn’t happen and we gave it our all.”

Part of an one-two punch with Lalka, who was in the Miller Gym this night, Hess was a central figure in the Warriors winning back-to-back ECIC IV titles and getting to the Section VI semifinals at Buffalo State the last two seasons.

The face of the Warriors this season, Hess’ achievements on the court through his four years of varsity basketball have come through his hard work and dedication.

“He’s the one that comes to play everyday during the summer,” said coach Hank Hughes. “He’s there all of the time, every single day, and he works. There’s been a couple of times when he’s the only one that shows up and it’s just me and him. I’m feeding him the ball in the post and we’re working on moves.”

Regardless of what the rest of the season holds Clayton Hess has set the bar high. He’s done it not only in terms of points and accolades, but also in the effort that is needed to make those achievements come to fruition.
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