Van Horn basketball Jaden Monday 1,000th career point

The song that Van Horn activities director Chris Corrie playing after Tuesday’s boys basketball game against Barstow couldn’t have been any more appropriate.

“Monday, Monday” by The Mamas & The Papas blasted over the loudspeakers following Van Horn’s 69-60 win over Knights at home.

There was a reason for that. The song talks about how hard it can be to deal with that day of the week. Opposing players probably feel the same way when they have to guard junior Jaden Monday, who scored his 1,000th point of his career about a week and a half ago at the Grain Valley Sonic Showdown.

“He thinks he’s funny,” Monday joked about Corrie playing the song after the game.

During halftime, his milestone was celebrated as he became the first player to reach it since the Independence School District took over Van Horn in 2008. Against Barstow, he poured in a team-high 22 points.

He received a commemorative basketball with “1,000 points” written on it. Someone also made a sign that read “Mondays are the BEST.” It also had Monday’s number on it (11) and his season stats (22 points per game, 5 RPG, 4 APG and two SPG).

“It’s fun and it’s special,” Monday said. “It puts into perspective all the hard work for the last three years.”

However, when Van Horn head coach Max Sollars told Monday that he reached the milestone, the dynamic guard didn’t get overly excited about it.

“He deserves every ounce of credit because he doesn’t ever ask for any,” Sollars said. “When I told him, ‘Congratulations, you scored 1,000 points.’ He said, ‘All right. What time is practice?’”

Added Monday: “At the end of the day it doesn’t mean nothing. I am just trying to win games.”

Monday has been a nightmare matchup for most guards. Perhaps his greatest attribute is his speed as he’s made it difficult for any player to stay in front of him.

“He just knows you can’t stay in front of him, so as you are facing up with him, it’s a blow-by or a hand check and a body foul,” Sollars said. “Just knowing that in every game we play, we don’t feel like anyone on their team can guard you, so go.

“He scored, what, 22 today? That’s a low-scoring game for him.”

Senior forward Caleb Tanis noted that Monday also does other things well.

“I think he has such a versatile game,” Tanis said. “He can pull up. He’s just a really hard person to guard. For him to reach 1,000 points, it’s a big goal for us as a team. I know he’s worked his butt off all summer and all three years.”

Sollars said that Monday went from a freshman who couldn’t shoot well from outside, to being a really good outside shooter. The junior credits that to all the hours that he practiced shooting in the gym.

“The gun. Thank God for the gun,” Monday said of a machine that sits under the basket and passes the ball back to the shooter when they make or miss a shot. “Hours and hours shooting off the dribble and off the catch, but it’s just a lot of repetition – just doing more than most people will.”

And Monday could help the Falcons set a team record for wins since they joined the Independence School District. Van Horn currently sits at 13-8. It has five more regular season games and the playoffs to earn the one win it needs to break the record.

The success has players thinking that the Falcons have a shot to do big things in the postseason.

“We are playing really solid as a team and we all have the same mindset,” said Tanis, who finished with 21 points Tuesday. “We want to win a district championship. Last year, we were 50-50. Not everyone had the same mindset and wanted to win. I think we all sat down this year and decided we wanted to win a district championship.”

Against Barstow, Van Horn led 17-14 at the end of the first quarter and extended the lead to 40-27 at halftime. The Falcons led 54-41 going into the final period, but Barstow managed to pull within six points a pair of times. However, Van Horn hung on for the win.

Sophomore Brycen Dean chipped in 13 points for the Falcons. Louis Christifano scored a game-high 30 points to pace Barstow.