By Tim “Shoe” Sullivan
Wednesday, Feb. 15 was a historic night in Stevens Point Rec League basketball.
Arriel Council, Sr. a 34-year-old sharpshooter, turned in a night to remember as he scored an amazing 82 points in his Hoffman’s Hobbies’ 101-30 romp over Team Gessert. The easy win finished the seven-game regular season for the Hoffman’s, and it also brought the Gessert’s 2017 campaign to a close.
The league played its abbreviated season at the Stevens Point Rec Center, 2442 Sims Avenue.
Council, who is known in local basketball circles as “A.C.”, is a 5’10”, 175-pound point guard who doubles as a stay-home dad with four kids. The Milwaukee native moved to Stevens Point in 2002 and has remained in our fair city ever since.
The eight-team league, believed to be in its second return season, plays 20-minute halves and has referees, a scorekeeper, a scoreboard, and a time clock.
Other teams are Rookies, Partner’s Pub, Smooth MacPack, The New Guys, Guu’s on Main and Revive.
The Wednesday night game was of special importance to Hoffman’s for a couple of reasons. Council, an ultimate team player and scoring-machine, said, “We needed the win to stay in the hunt for first place. Gessert hadn’t won a game all season, and we figured the chances were pretty good that we’d beat them.”
A.C. dropped 48 points on Team Gessert in the first half, and he was only getting started. The personable Council explained: “Here’s the deal. I wanted to lead the league in scoring even though I’m actually our point guard and like to pass the rock. A tough player from the New Guys team named Nick had 146 points for the year and I had 103. We both had one game to go. In fact, Nick plays against Partner’s Pub next week. I had 48 points at the half and my teammates did all they could to help me get a good cushion on Nick.”
A.C. tingled the twines for 34 more points in the second half to go up on Nick by 185 to 146.
In the 101-30 rout, Arriel connected on an amazing 16 three-pointers and tossed in 17 two-pointers for good measure. His 82 points in one game is believed to be an all-time Rec League basketball record.
Fans believe former Wisconsin Badger star Chuck Nagle held the previous the scoring record in the Point Leagues when he went off for 62 in his 1970s Pizza Hut thumping of Shamrock Pizza at Ben Franklin.
“My teammates were awesome,” A.C. said. “We have a very diverse squad. We have six players; some are black, some are white, and we also have a girl and the youngest player in the league. Our sponsor, Bill Hoffman’s son Keith is the youngest player. Then we have Jeana Magyer, a psychology professor at UWSP who played for the Pointers from ‘94 through ‘97. Ervin Johnson (no relation to Magic) is the rebounds leader in our league. Our other studs are Trenton Pate and Jasper St. Bernard. Once I reached 48 points at the half, all of my teammates told me to just keep shooting, so that’s what I did.”
A.C. is something of a basketball legend around Stevens Point. Local hoopster Bobby Sullivan remarked, “I’ve seen A.C. play several times at the YMCA. He’s usually there Mondays and Wednesdays playing in pickup games. He’s like a smaller version of Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder. A.C. is a freak of nature with terrific athletic skills. He’ll pass the ball to you if you’re open, but he can always light it up if he has to. He’s a great player, very smart, and a super guy off the court.”
Last season, the cool Council shaked-and-baked his way to grabbing a plaque for winning the scoring title and another one for league MVP. He displayed his talents for Team Revive and poured in about 200 points in seven games.
“I just love to play hoops,” he said.