Nathan Lippman, a 15-year-old homeschooled child from Branson, Missouri, set school and state single-game scoring records yesterday afternoon by putting up a whopping 118 points. The homeschool phenom likely could have scored even more but he stalled on offense for most of the fourth quarter to protect the feelings of his opponent – his mother, Sarah.
"I'm so proud of Nathan," said his mother. "We just did a month-long unit on fighting the sin of pride – I decided to do that instead of one on geometry – and he really exhibited humility today by not going for 150 on me. He is growing into a fine young man. And I'm sure if he knew geometry he would have acted like a real wiseacre out there today, so I obviously made the right decision."
Lippman says he has been working tirelessly at his game during his daily hour-long gym period his mother schedules for each weekday afternoon, which comes right after a two-hour class on the founding fathers and just before a five-minute science class.
"I was really in a zone," said Lippman. "I don't know how to describe it. I guess it was a combination of factors. Hard work. Prayer. The purity of not being tainted by public schools. I would even say there was a little luck involved, but then I know that luck is the sort of thing that only people who are involved in witchcraft or consumed by the sin of gambling believe in. So scratch luck off the list of factors. Mostly I'd say, though, my point total was due to playing against my mom. Mother stinks at basketball, but she's the only person I can play against – other than my nine younger brothers and sisters – because I am not allowed contact with children outside of our family."
Lippman scored 41 points in the opening quarter of yesterday's Lippman League game to stake a 53-4 first quarter lead. Forty-one points in a single quarter is also believed to be a Missouri state record.
He followed with 34 in the second quarter, 35 in the third and eight in the final frame to win going away, 118-9. Lippman says he thinks he can top his record next week with scheduled Lippman League games against his sister Rachel, 4, on Monday and his brother Caleb, 7, on Wednesday.
"I think the sky is the limit for me now that I've gotten past mother," said Nathan. "She is the only one with any height in this family other than me and father, but father doesn't play in the Lippman League. He says all the movements that playing a sport requires makes him have impure thoughts."
Sarah Lippman thinks her son could one day do something great with basketball.
"Who knows, maybe he is good enough to play the sport professionally," she said. "And if so, his father and I will have to decide if it's perhaps in some way better for him to be out in the world instead of just inside our house with his brothers and sisters. I doubt it, but I guess it is at least worth a discussion."
Lippman said he simply hopes that the Missouri Interscholastic Athletics Association recognizes his record.
"So what if I didn't do it against some big St. Louis power or something like that," he said. "It's not fair to discriminate against me because I'm homeschooled. A lot of hard work and pent-up aggression towards my mother went into that record."