On October 11, during the Alumni Luncheon, Jonas Fischer ’94 and Rebecca Fischer (Smith) ’99 will join forty-three of our greatest athletes in the Stony Brook Hall of Fame. They will be just the third set of siblings to be enshrined along with Don ’75 and Kevin Lockerbie ’77, inducted in 1997, and William ’45 and Earl Downey ’45, inducted in 2004.
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Jonas was an All-County selection in three sports as a Brooker, excelling in football, basketball, and lacrosse. He was a regular on the Class Night stage, winning the Swanson Superior Performance Trophy, the Swanson All-Around Athlete Trophy, and the Vanderveer Trophy, and twice winning the Buyers Football and Taft Boys’ Basketball trophies.
On the basketball court, he was an All-County selection, a two-time All-Conference selection, and a three-time All-League selection. His 20 points per game average in 1993 was the ninth-best in Suffolk County that year. His career highlights include a 50-point game vs. Shelter Island in 1994 (four points off the school record), 40 points vs. Deer Park in 1992 (the third-highest total in the County that year), and 15 free throws vs. LaSalle in 1993 (one off the County record). He helped the boys to back-to-back League Championships in 1993 and 1994, the team’s first league titles since 1975. He had 23 points in one of the biggest wins in program history, an upset victory over Wyandanch in the 1994 County playoffs. His 1,060 career points made him just the third member of the exclusive 1,000 Point Club. His head coach Mike Hickey remembers him fondly:
Jonas had a unique set of attributes and skills. He had the heart of a lion… extremely competitive and absolutely fearless. He wouldn’t back down from anyone. To say that he was not exactly the smoothest player that ever played for me would be the understatement of the century. He never made a left-handed lay-up off the proper foot! He had a whole host of quirky, herky-jerky moves that threw the most experienced players off-balance. He likely scored more conventional three-point plays in my 28 years of coaching than any other player because he would get fouled all the time, yet would be strong enough to make the shot and then the free throw that followed. Despite being a tremendous scorer, he was an outstanding passer, frequently faking out both opponents and teammates alike with his look-away passes. Of course they were surprised that he could even see with the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar-esque goggles that he used to wear. Jonas was willing to do whatever necessary to help the team win. He was the consummate teammate.
* * *There are two games that immediately come to mind when I think if Jonas. We met the best Southold team that they have ever had in my tenure, and they have had several great ones. We weren’t too bad either. Jonas’ teammates included Matt Mattimore, Jimmy Roban, and Nkumo Mandungu. This game was definitely one of the best games I have ever been associated with. The pace was absolutely furious, with both teams pressing and landing roundhouse punch after roundhouse punch. Each time Souhold made a run, Jonas seemed to break their backs with another score. The game was neck-and-neck throughout, but in the end we won handily. Jonas finished with 38 points.* * *The other game, of course, was against Shelter Island. Unlike most Shelter Island teams over the past two decades, this one was a perennial power during the Cori Cass years. Early in the game it seemed like there was an agreement between Jonas and Cass that they should each let the other pad his offensive stats. The pace again was furious. So much so, that late in the game Jonas had asked to be taken out of the game for a rest. That had never happened before. When I asked him if he really wanted to come out he said, “Why?” I replied, “Well you have 44 points.” Jonas stayed in and summoned the energy to score an additional six points during that span to finish with 50. This makes him one of a handful on Long Island to have accomplished that feat. This also propelled him to a rare All-County selection. Jonas is a fantastic selection for our Hall of Fame.
On the lacrosse field he helped bring home the first County Championship in program history in 1994 in a 4-3 win over Half Hollow Hills West. He went on to play lacrosse at Colgate University where in 1998 he earned the Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award. He also received All-League honors after helping the Red Raiders to a second place finish that spring.
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With the Fischer name already deeply entrenched in Stony Brook lore, Rebecca threw off the shadow of her older brother and cut a swath for herself, standing out in soccer, basketball, and track. She followed in Jonas’ footsteps by winning both the Swanson Superior Performance and All-Around Athlete trophies as well as winning the Girls’ Basketball Trophy three times.
It was Rebecca who laid the foundation of what would become a girls’ basketball dynasty at the Brook, helping the Bears to three consecutive League Championships from 1997-1999 and the Suffolk County crown in 1999. She was selected All-State, named to Newsday‘s All-Long Island team, and was a three-time All-County honoree. She was also the first member of the 1,000 Point Club on the girls’ side.
Her greatest individual highlight came on December 18, 1997. After missing a game due to bronchitis, she returned to the lineup to break her own school record with 35 points against Bridgehampton. Her basketball coach, Keith singer, took some time to remember one of his greatest players:
Rebecca is a “Hall of Famer” in every sense of the word. She was an incredible athlete, a fierce competitor, an amazing teammate, and a God-honoring young lady.
As a player, Rebecca was an absolute joy and privilege to coach. She always gave everything she had in every situation. Her work ethic in practice was outstanding, and her intensity and effort during games was always evident. She was beloved by her teammates and was a tremendous encourager as a captain. In every sport and in her role as a prefect, her leadership and gifts in relating to others were on constant display. She was a true teammate in the very best sense of the word.
Rebecca’s basketball career was extraordinary. She scored 1,491 points during her career (I believe that places her ahead of her brother Jonas) and was selected All-County and All-Long Island during her time at Stony Brook. She also averaged over 22 points per game her senior year. Her successes in high school also included elevating her team to an entirely new level of competitive excellence. During her playing career, Rebecca helped lead Stony Brook to its first League, Division, and Sectional championships. We also recorded our first win in the Regionals. The list of records, numbers, and statistical accolades are long and well-deserved.
For Rebecca, however, her use of her athletic gifts was part of a larger picture. As a Christ-follower, Rebecca understood that all that is done in life should bring glory and honor to God. How she approached the game and athletics was a Godly use of her gifts. Her pursuit of excellence, her intense yet controlled passion for the game, her leadership with her teammates, her constant desire and work to improve as a player, and her overall love for others will always stand out to me about Rebecca.
As a coach, one of my great privileges in my career was coaching this amazingly mature and respectful, yet intensely competitive young lady.
Some snippets I will remember:
- she always seemed to make huge plays when we needed it most
- she and Sara Kiernan partnering during practice and winning shooting drill after shooting drill
- trying to guard her in practice and watching her score
- a myriad of moves in the post that left people grasping for air on defense
- the way the younger players respected and admired her (including my daughter Sadie who was little at the time)
- challenging her in a particular game to “make a play” and she did
- her outstanding performances in a variety of playoff games
- how she handled the spotlight with grace and wisdom, even as a ninth-grader
- celebrating achieving our team goals and the breakthroughs experienced under her leadership as a captain
Rebecca, thank you for honoring our Lord during your time at Stony Brook through the use of your gifts. I pray that He will continue to bless your family as you and Matt serve Him. When I think about Rebecca and her spirited and joyful approach to life, I am reminded of Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Your numbers as an athlete speak for themselves, but you are a “Hall of Famer” in my book in all the ways that truly matter.
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In addition to their weighty accolades, it was the way in which they competed that also set the Fischers apart. They were fierce competitors, but they always played the game in a way that elicited only pride from their school and their Lord. It is for these reasons that we are privileged to include Jonas and Rebecca Fischer in the Stony Brook School Hall of Fame.
We hope you will join us at the Alumni Luncheon on Saturday at noon to honor our newest inductees.