Crothersville’s Spall moves up school scoring list


When Cable Spall sat in the privacy of the Crothersville locker room after the Tigers lost to Springs Valley on Feb. 13, he had tears in his eyes.

He was not crying because of the defeat, but because the game represented the end of an era for him, the conclusion of a chapter in his life.

The 5-foot-11 senior guard had just finished his final home game in a gym that was truly a second home to him for the last four winters.

“I was just thinking how much work and time I’ve spent in that gym,” Spall said. “I just spent hours and hours and hours working to get better.”

The time invested paid dividends for Spall, who soon after went over the 1,000-point mark for the Tigers and has now risen to third on the list of the school’s all-time scorers with a few to go.

After Tuesday night, when he scored 14 points against Eastern (Pekin), Spall’s total was 1,019 with just two other former Tigers ahead of him. No. 1 is Josh Thomas with 1,496 points. Second is Kelly Spicer with 1,100 points.

Spall cracked the 1,000 mark last Saturday at Henryville, and even though the game was on the road, there was some recognition. Play halted and Spall was given a game ball to commemorate the occasion.

It made for a special moment. Spall took the ball home, and right now, it is living in his bedroom. The ball still must have his points stenciled onto it, and he is not sure what place of honor he will find for it permanently after that.

“It means a lot to me,” Spall said of reaching the milestone. “It really hasn’t sunk in yet.”

Although coaches and teammates were keeping track during the game, Spall said he was not aware he had pulled within a basket of the four-digit total.

“I was just out there playing my game,” he said.

The 1,000th point came on a layup following a pass from fellow senior Quinten Keasler.

“That was my personal goal for the season,” Spall said of joining this small scoring club, “after winning sectional last year.”

The 2020 season ended with Crothersville as champions of the Edinburgh Sectional. It was the first time in history the Tigers won a sectional going back more than 100 years.

The celebration was wild, and Spall was happy to be a part of it. However, the season was abruptly called off without the team testing itself in the regional because of the spread of the coronavirus.

Most key players from that squad graduated, and this young team has struggled, sitting at 3-17 with two regular-season games remaining, plus this year’s sectional.

Reaching 1,000 was a consolation during a difficult campaign.

“Back in elementary and middle school, it was a dream,” Spall said.

Spall has been the do-everything guy for the Tigers, said coach Bobby Riley, who was his junior varsity coach and became head coach this season.

“You have to look at his whole career,” Riley said. “He was a leader for me as a freshman (on JV). As a sophomore and junior, he was a starter. He was one of our top scoring options last year. He is our leader this year. He pulls guys together and shows them the right thing to do.

“He’s my leading scorer. He’s my leading rebounder. He’s my leading assist guy. He gets beat up every game because he’s double- or triple-teamed.”

Yet Spall can still beat those defenses keyed on him because he has a quick first step, can read defensive alignments and is a sharp dribbler.

“His ball handling is very good,” Riley said. “He can shake and bake other guys. When he was in the locker room that last game, he said, ‘I don’t want to take it off.'”

Meaning the home jersey.

“He’s got such passion for the game,” Riley said.

Which makes it surprising to hear Spall talk as if he knows this will be his last year playing with an organized team. He is thinking more about trade school than other education affiliated with a junior college or college — unless a coach gets in touch to sell him on giving it a whirl.

Spall averages 21.6 points a game, collecting the points on a combination of drives and long shots, and Riley believes he can play somewhere.

“He can play at the next level,” Riley said.

Spall sounds halfway between willing to let go and not wanting to let go.

“Basketball has pretty much been my main sport my whole life,” Spall said. “It’s just something I’m going to miss. If I get some college interest, I’ll look into it. It’s going to be different not to play basketball.”

Game day, fans cheering, the trappings of the competition are all significant to Spall.

“I’m going to miss all that,” he said.

No matter what, Cable Spall will always have that share of the Crothersville sectional title and his 1,000 points.

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