March 22, 2010

Missouri: Son tops dad's 34-year-old record

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Score one for every kid who has had to grow up listening to stories about what dear old dad did in his playing days.

When Otto Porter Jr., led Sikeston (Mo.) Scott County Central to the Missouri Class 1 boys basketball state championship, he not only matched his father's title - he broke his dad's 34-year-old record for rebounds in a title game in the process.

Porter pulled down 35 rebounds (and added 29 points) in a 96-47 victory over Pilot Grove (Mo.) High in Columbia, Mo.

His father, Otto Sr., had 25 when he led the school to the 1976 title in an 82-71 victory over Glasgow.

"Breaking my father's record is a great feeling," the younger Porter said. "It can't get any better than that."

Actually, it can. For the older Porter, seeing his son top his mark was a bigger thrill than setting the record himself.

"There's no better way to have your record broken than to have it broken by your son," he said.

Both father and son - heck, it seems everyone in the place - knew the record was going to fall when the 6-8 Porter had 21 rebounds at halftime.

Porter the player said the coaches encouraged him to do it.

"My coach told me how many rebounds I had," he said. "He said it would be nice to break your old man's record so go ahead and do it."

Porter the father said the people next to him in the stands let him know with each rebound.

"A bunch of the fans were riding me pretty good," he said. "Every time he got a rebound they let me know how many more he had to go. But that's OK. It's a good thing."

Porter, who said he owns a number of state tournament records, said he was glad his son got his favorite: Rebounds.

While most fathers and sons talk about scoring, he said they've talked about rebounding since his son was old enough to play.

"I always told him and preached to him that he if you can rebound, you can do anything," the elder Porter said. "He scores a lot of points, but when it's all said and done, I think he would like to rebound.

"It was nice to see all the talking and preaching come to light."

For the older Porter, seeing his son excel in the state tournament has helped his life come full circle.

He left the area for more than two decades but returned so his son could attend the same school he did. With one year remaining, he figures his son will eventually break most of his records.

But that's OK with him.

Porter said he used to only think about his records once a year - at state tournament time. He said he rarely missed an event. And that when he attended, he always checked a copy of the record books to make sure he was still there.

Next year, he'll see his son's name where his always was.

"I'm proud," he said. "I'm proud to see he's doing what I did and surpassing me. It's a good thing."

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