Grand milestones: District 13 has 4 players within reach of 1,000 career points – and another is already thereThe 1,000-point club isn’t exclusive by any means in North Dakota high school basketball.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
The 1,000-point club isn’t exclusive by any means in North Dakota high school basketball.
However, with a group of area players either past the milestone or approaching it, coaches say just scoring 1,000 points in a career is an achievement that showcases not only a player’s success, but their consistency.
“You have to be consistent,” Hettinger-Scranton head coach Adam Hill said. “We all know, at the varsity level, people game plan to take away the best scorers. You’ve got to have a really solid game to put up 1,000 points in a four-year career.”
Beach senior Landon Lechler emphatically hit the milestone with a dunk against Watford City on Jan. 6. The 6-foot-8 center has 1,018 points, with about 75 percent of that total coming in the past two seasons. He played his first two seasons in Baker, Mont.
“It feels pretty great, especially since I got it on a dunk on Shawn Fulwider,” Lechler said. “He’s one of the quickest players I’ve ever played against in my whole life. Him and I had a battle the whole game.”
Hettinger-Scranton senior guard Ben Laufer is knocking on the door of the milestone. After scoring a season-high 28 points in a loss to Mott-Regent on Tuesday, Laufer has scored 965 career points — and he is just one of four District 13 boys basketball players with a chance of reaching the 1,000-point milestone by the end of the season.
New England senior guard Clarence Binstock, in his fifth season as a varsity player, has 937 points.
Tigers head coach Luke Powers said Binstock has averaged about seven assists per game since his freshman year, and he played varsity as an eighth-grader.
“Had he not been taking so much time making everybody else better, he probably would have been there sooner,” Powers said of Binstock closing in on 1,000 points. “He makes our whole team click. He’s a great leader and an even better kid.”
Mott-Regent’s senior duo of Chad Mosbrucker and Nate Fries could both reach the mark before tournament time. Mosbrucker has scored 902 points and Fries is at 880.
“I try not to think about it too much,” said Mosbrucker, a 6-foot-3 guard. “I just try to go out there and put in my best effort during the game. I don’t really think about it. When it comes, it comes. It’d be something great to get to, a great accomplishment.”
While the District 13 could have five boys hit the milestone by season’s end, one area girls basketball player has already surpassed it.
Killdeer senior center Megan Klein scored her 1,000th career point at home with her final points of a 64-46 loss to Grant County last Saturday.
Klein, who has 1,008 career points, is averaging 11.6 points per game this season. It’s Klein’s lowest average since her freshman year as she fights through lingering pain from a knee injury she suffered last May.
“She’s got an obvious love for the game to keep her goals, even with the obstacles she’s faced this year with her knee surgery and it not exactly healing the way it’s supposed to,” Killdeer head coach Sara Doe said.
Klein said she had been patiently waiting on reaching 1,000 points all year. When she got there, it was a relief.
“It’s very exciting and it’s quite the accomplishment, then it’s like, OK, get back to where we were,” Klein said. “I got it. What’s next?”
Reaching the milestone would be a feather in the hat of the players still chasing it.
They’re all more engaged in what is shaping up to be a battle for the District 13 title.
Laufer averages 16.8 points per game. The Night Hawks play Bowman County on Friday and Heart River on Saturday, which means he has a good chance of scoring his 1,000th point by the end of the week.
Mosbrucker (18 points per game) and Binstock (13.1 ppg) are about five or six games away.
Fries, averaging 14.4 points, is about eight games from the milestone.
Laufer said having five players in District 13 on track for 1,000 career points is a good example of the region’s talent level.
“I think everyone knows how tough we are, but that just adds to it,” Laufer said.