By Mark Kitchin
It’s rare that a basketball player’s 1,000th career point is indicative of his style of play, but the way Sean Robbins reached the milestone for Kinnelon on Saturday couldn’t have been more appropriate.
Robbins, a six-foot-one, 180-pound senior guard, fearlessly drove for a layup and into the teeth of the Bogota defense. He was fouled on the play that occurred midway through the third quarter and he coolly sank his free throw to complete the 3-point play for his eighth point of the game and 1,000th in his varsity career.
Kinnelon lost the game 62-34 but it didn’t dampen the appreciation for Robbins who has been a fixture in the Colts lineup the last four seasons. He is the first Kinnelon boys basketball player to reach the milestone since Matt Conrad in 2007. His name graces the list of other Colts heroes: Walt Bateman, Craig Dowell, Pete Polo, Todd Price, Tony Schembri, Bernie Stiroh, Neil Owens and Dennis Severino.
Sean Robbins is the ninth boys basketball player for Kinnelon to reach the 1,000-point milestone. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)
“Everyone was beaten up from the tough game we had against Cedar Grove the night before,’’ Kinnelon coach Sean Rivers said. “We were all running on fumes. When he did it, all the kids ran out onto the court and I thought they were going to give us 13 technical fouls. I was glad that he got to do it at home. We were already down by 20 and after he did it we gave him the rest of the day off. He always plays 32 minutes in close games. After the third quarter, I told him to relax.’’
Of course, he would have wanted to keep playing. The Kinnelon athlete has been a workhorse since he first stepped into a varsity game as a freshman.
“I didn’t start him as a freshman and midway through the season I realized that I made a mistake,’’ River said. “He always had a knack of finding a way to get the ball to the basket. He’s not a great shooter or a great ballhandler. He has a knack for scoring. It will be tough for awhile and it seems he’s not going to find an opening and then he does.’’
Robbins is averaging 13.5 points a game for the Colts. Coming off a fall season where he directed Kinnelon football to its first state championship, the switch back to basketball has been a little more difficult this year. His efforts have only made him more endearing to Kinnelon players and fans.
Sean Robbins has been a mainstay in Kinnelon coach Sean Rivers lineup since his freshman year. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)
“I know he’s not 100 percent,’’ Rivers said. “He hasn’t been all year. He took a beating as a running quarterback furing football season.’’
Even if he’s not at his very best, Robbins has been pretty good. He’s had four games in which he has scored 20 points or more including his season high of 24 against North Warren on January 14. The Colts have struggled at 6-14 but they did qualify for the NJSIAA tournament and are looking forward to their opening match-up against neighboring rival Mountain Lakes in state sectional play.
“We’ve been unlucky at times,’’ Rivers said. “We have a solid group of four seniors. If we all stick together we can turn it around.’’