Cyprus’ Quentin Meza knew 2,000 career points was within reach heading into Thursday’s game at Kearns, but his priorities were focused on a much smaller number — two.
A win Thursday locked up a second-straight region title, which for a Cyprus program with minimal historic success is a huge deal.
“I wasn’t really worried about it, I knew if I got it, I got it, but I just wanted to make sure we won region and that’s what was most important,” said Meza.
Like it’s been all year though, Meza and Cyprus have gone hand in hand, and Thursday was no different.
Needing 25 points to become just the eighth player in state history to reach the 2,000 career points, Meza scored 30 as Cyprus rolled to the 70-50 win over Kearns to improve to 20-3 on the season and clinch the Region 2 title.
The historic moment proved to be a bit anticlimactic as it occurred at the free throw line at the 6:17 mark of the fourth quarter as he scored points No. 1,999 and 2,000.
After he was fouled, his dad teased him from the bleachers that you can’t score 2,000 from the free throw line. No way Meza was going to miss on purpose through for a better highlight video.
“I knew I was going to make them. You don’t miss shots on purpose, you’ve got to put the ball in the hole. It’s not the best way, but there’s a lot of buckets to that 2,000 that are a lot better than free throws,” said Meza.
He had a dunk blocked less than a minute earlier that he admits would’ve been much cooler, but by that point in the game the win was well in hand as Cyprus could start to celebrate the region title.
In between his two free throws, Meza turned to his coach and said, “this is for 2,000.” Cyprus coach Tre Smith knew there was no way his senior was going to miss.
“I think it’s a moment he’ll relive in his mind forever. I really hope he just enjoys it,” said Smith.
He believes Meza has flown under the radar during his career because he plays at Cyprus, but believes he’s one of the best players in state history too.
“His IQ is on another level. I think he’s a really smart kid, and he’s also a worker. He’s a gym rat. He always wants to get in the gym and get better. Every single year it’s an uptick,” said Smith. “I’m just proud of him for that moment. He deserved that moment.”
The foundation for reaching 2,000 career points was laid during Meza’s freshman season when he led Cyprus by averaging 17.6 points per game. As a sophomore he averaged 20.9 ppg, and then as a junior 20.4 ppg. This season he’s averaging 24.8 points to go along with 6.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists.
More important than the stats though, Smith said Meza has been instrumental in turning Cyprus into a winning basketball program.
“They’ve been winning together since they were in third and fourth grade. Obviously he’s at the forefront of that and does a really good job, but he’s about winning,” said Smith.
Cyprus hasn’t won a basketball state championship since 1955, but led by Meza it likely will be a No. 2 seed at this year’s 6A state tournament and will be one of the biggest challengers to No. 1 Corner Canyon.
Depending on how deep Cyprus advances into the state tournament, Meza has a chance to climb as high as fourth on the career scoring list. He’s currently eighth with 2,005 points and with two regular season games remaining he figures to pass Lone Peak’s Frank Jackson (2,024) and Spanish Fork’s Robbie Reid (2,032) heading into the playoffs.
The next two players on the list are South Sevier’s Race Parsons (2,093) and Highland’s Mike Maxwell (2,098). Catching Ben Lomond’s Kurt Miller for third place would be a tall task as he sits at 2,153 career points. Cyprus would likely need to advance to the state championship game for Meza to have any hope of reaching that milestone.
A championship has been his main goal all season, so anything is possible if Cyprus keeps playing the brand of team basketball that’s produced 20 wins this season.