History in Hudson: Jackson O’Brien tallies 1,000th career point

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HUDSON – One routine lay-up stood between Jackson O’Brien and Hudson history.

Sitting at 999 career points, O’Brien slipped behind the defense, corralled the incoming pass, and eyed the wide-open basket. O’Brien regularly makes more difficult lay-ups, but just one point away from history, the shot was unexpectedly stressful.

On the precipice of 1,000 points, the excitement was hard to contain. O’Brien tried to push the thought out of his mind.

“I get told all the time ‘Don’t think about it.’ If you think about it, the game’s not going to come to you. At that moment, I wasn’t thinking about it. I was thinking ‘Let’s hit this lay-up.’ Everybody – my coaches, my teammates, my dad, my mom – told me not to think about it, so that’s what I thought about at that moment.”

History in Hudson: Jackson O’Brien tallies 1,000th career point
Hudson teammates swarm Jackson O’Brien after he scores his 1,000th career point. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

And at 5:22 p.m., O’Brien registered points 1,000 and 1,001, becoming the sixth-ever Hudson boys basketball athlete to reach the 1,000-point mark, the first since Tim Person in 2019. Person and Nicholas DiBlasi – a 2009 1,000-point-club inductee – were on hand to celebrate O’Brien’s milestone, which came in the CMADA tournament against Northbridge High School.

Once O’Brien made the all-important basket, he was mobbed by excited teammates. After briefly visiting the bench, he sprinted up the bleachers to hug his father, Ken O’Brien. The two shared an embrace as the Hudson High School crowd applauded.

“It’s a proud moment. You start working with them when they’re three, four [years old]. You start working with the ball, you see them progress throughout the years… You see him improve his basketball IQ,” Ken O’Brien told the Community Advocate after the game. “He works hard. It’s not me, it’s him. I don’t score the baskets – he does. You can’t teach drive, you can’t teach energy, you can’t teach enthusiasm… He puts that effort in, and I’m really proud of him.”

History in Hudson: Jackson O’Brien tallies 1,000th career point
Jackson O’Brien hugs his father, Ken O’Brien, immediately after registering his 1,000th career point. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

According to Hudson Head Coach Mike Notaro Jr., “effort” perfectly describes what Jackson O’Brien brings to the team. O’Brien finished the game with 20 points – including 18 in the first half – and captured several tough rebounds to give Hudson second-chance shots. It’s maximum effort for O’Brien – all the time.

“He’s our best player, but as I say to everybody, he’s our hardest worker. He’s pushing everybody at practice, he’s winning every sprint. For the kids coming up in the program to see their best player do that every night, every practice, and push the rest of the team, it’s a really strong message to send. I can’t say enough about him. He’s definitely the heart and soul of our team. Without him, I don’t know where we’d be,” Notaro said about his senior captain.

Hudson lost to Northbridge, 58-57, in a last-second heartbreaker, but O’Brien’s story won the night. After the game, O’Brien was presented with the game ball and an honorary 1,000-point-club t-shirt, and briefly met with Person and DiBlasi. Coaches, teammates, and peers from around the Hudson community congratulated O’Brien.

History in Hudson: Jackson O’Brien tallies 1,000th career point
Head Coach Mike Notaro Jr. gives Jackson O’Brien the game ball. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

Amid the constant congratulations, O’Brien found the time to meet with Hudson’s youth athletes, even signing autographs for some of his young fans. O’Brien’s interacts with “future Hawks” constantly, working at an after-school program outside of class.

“He talks to [kids] – not at them, or around them. He hugs them. He’s excited to see them, they’re excited to see him. He’s got the kindest heart. He’s a big-hearted kid,” Ken O’Brien said as his son fist-bumped kids around the basketball court.

Jackson O’Brien voiced his appreciation for all the support.

“It’s family. Being part of that club, that’s a family right there. Being part of the Hudson Hawks – it’s all a family. Everyone is so welcoming, making me feel at home,” he said.

History in Hudson: Jackson O’Brien tallies 1,000th career point
Jackson O’Brien is high-fived by teammates as he checks into the game. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

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