Jan. 31, 1992: Cholla High’s Chuck Overton breaks the state basketball career scoring record

Two months after Sean Elliott completed his basketball eligibility at Cholla High School, Paul Dull was hired as the Chargers’ head coach.

Could there be any worse timing?

About that time, Brenda Overton and her two young boys relocated from Toledo, Ohio, and moved into Cholla’s school boundaries.

This time, Dull was in the right place at the right time.

Brenda’s son, Chuck Overton, then in the seventh grade, became a freshman starter at Cholla in 1988-89, about the time Elliott broke the Pac-10’s career scoring record.

Three years later, Overton broke Elliott’s records at Cholla, and on the final day of January 1989, needed 11 points to become the highest-scoring prep basketball player in Arizona history.

In a midweek home game against Palo Verde, in a gymnasium named after Elliott, Overton scored late in the first quarter to give him 2,213 career points, breaking the record of former Sunnyside forward Deron Johnson.

Cholla officials stopped the game. Brenda Overton rushed to midcourt to embrace her son. Someone from the student body held up a sketch that showed Overton dunking. The artist asked Overton for an autograph.

By season’s end, Overton improved his state scoring record to 2,535 points. What’s more, he broke Arizona’s single-season scoring record with 939 points, an average of 30.1 per game.

Dull’s Chargers won the state championship, finishing 27-4.

In the years since Overton departed Cholla, the state scoring record has been raised to 3,002 by Shadow Mountain’s Mike Bibby. Santa Rita’s Terrell Stoglin scored 2,901 points, topping Overton’s Tucson record.

But the ’92 season at Cholla remains one of the most memorable in Tucson prep history.

Schools such as USC, St. Mary’s and New Mexico recruited Overton, but he enrolled at Salt Lake Community College, where he led the Bruins to fifth place in the NJCAA finals in 1994. He then played two seasons at Cal State Fullerton.

Former SLCC coach Norm Parrish, who knew Overton had not academically qualified for Division I basketball, drove to Tucson in hopes of signing Overton, a versatile, 6-foot-4-inch swingman.

“He drove down to my house and knocked on my door, and I was like, ‘Salt Lake City?’” Overton told the Salt Lake Tribune in a 20-year reunion celebration of that ’94 SLCC team. “But I came here and have been here since. I love him.”

After Overton averaged 28 points as a Cholla junior, making the All-State team, he joked that perhaps the school would rename something after him the way it named the gymnasium after Elliott.

“How about Chuck’s Cafeteria?” he said. “I like to eat a lot.”

As a Charger, Overton’s teams devoured everything in their way to a 1992 state championship.

Where are they now? Overton is an accountant in Draper, Utah, a suburb of Salt Lake City. His son, J.J. Overton, is a top prospect in the Class of 2017, a 6-4 guard at Rancho Bernardo High School near San Diego.

How they did it: At Cholla, Overton averaged in double figures each of his four seasons: 12 points as a freshman, 19 as a sophomore, 28 as a junior and 30 as a senior. He scored a career-high 47 against Sahuaro in his junior season.