South Haven Basketball Star Nickalai Anderson Joins Father in Surpassing 1,000 Career Points

Rachel Allison


Rachel Allison


Feb 19, 2024

South Haven Basketball Star Nickalai Anderson Joins Father in Surpassing 1,000 Career Points

When South Haven Christian School sophomore Nickalai Anderson swished the nets for a three-pointer against Pleasant View Christian on February 8, the crowd went wild.

This was no ordinary basket.

Nickalai's bucket in the Tennessee State Independent Athletic Association (TSIAA) District Tournament game pushed him over the 1,000-point mark already in his short high school career. This exciting achievement helped catapult the Patriots to victory in the tight game against the Warriors, and the team followed that up with a win three days later against Christian Community School in the TSIAA North District Championship game.

Leading up to the game against Pleasant View, Nickalai and his coach, Phillip Starnes, had been tracking his points and knew he only needed five more to reach 1,000. Knowing the feat would likely happen against the Warriors, word started spreading fast to the rest of the team and even throughout the gymnasium before play started.

It only took one quarter for Nickalai to send the crowd into a frenzy.

Nickalai Anderson and Coach Phillip Starnes

“My friend Aaron was dribbling down the court, and he passed it to me. I just took one dribble and shot a three,” recalled Nickalai of the milestone moment.

Immediately following the shot, the team called a time out so they could huddle together, congratulate him, and take a photo with the game ball.

“I’ve been coaching for 15-plus years now, and I haven’t had a sophomore get 1,000 points,” says Coach Starnes. “(We’re) very excited for him, and (I) am trying to help him understand the magnitude of that.”

Skill on the court is second nature to Nickalai, whose father, Brian Anderson, also played for South Haven Christian School and scored his 1,000th point as a sophomore there 30 years ago. Because Brian had a love and skill for basketball, he got Nickalai involved in the sport at the young age of 8. The two now have a healthy competition between them on who's the better athlete.

“It feels good, but it just kind of pushes me to be better than him,” laughs Nickalai, as he looks over to his dad watching him interview.

Brian and Nickalai Anderson

Although still a couple of years away from graduating, Nickalai has already started to think about his future in athletics.

“Ultimately, I want to play college basketball at the highest level I can," he says. "Whether I get there or not, it’s just part of the journey,”

As for the South Haven Patriots, they entered the TSIAA state tournament as the No. 1 seed for the North Division and played a strong game against Franklin Classical School on February 13, unfortunately losing by 5 points.

They have one more tournament, the Tennessee Athletic Association of Christian Schools (TAACS) State Tournament, beginning on Thursday, February 22, running through Saturday, February 24 at their campus in Springfield, TN.

Best of luck, Patriots!

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