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1 in 1,000: Grant Gerving scores personal milestone

Grant Gerving hit the 1,000 point milestone against Flasher on Saturday.

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Bearcats senior Grant Gerving (middle) celebrates his 1,000th-point achievement with fellow seniors Ethan Duppong (left) and Layne Duppong (right) following Saturday's victory over Flasher. (The Dickinson Press)

Everyone wants to be remembered in some way, especially for something that they love to do. While many wish for at least one reason to be remembered, Glen Ullin senior Grant Gerving has 1,000.

Throughout his years growing up in Glen Ullin, Gerving has made a name for himself throughout his entire career as a Bearcat athlete. Even as a young adolescent, Gerving’s athletic abilities showed signs that he was destined for greatness and was sure to leave his mark on the town by the time he graduated from high school.

The senior guard did just that on Saturday in a matchup that was depicted as being one of the toughest teams the Bearcats have battled all season long in a home matchup against 7-2 Flasher High, one of the best teams in Class B Region 5 - District 9.

With only needing one point to reach the 1,000-point milestone, Gerving was confident he was going to make history in Saturday’s matchup and put his name in the Glen Ullin history books.

For most players, the one point would be the only focus going into the big game. But ask his teammates, or Head Coach Greg Pruitt, Gerving is not one of those players. Actually, quite the opposite — team first, always.

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“This is my 14th year of coaching and Grant is one of the most humblest kids that I’ve ever coached,” Pruitt said. “He’s all about his team, he’s all about helping others on the court and off the court and it’s just one of those things that he’s just an overall good kid.”

Pruitt later added, “He doesn’t think he is bigger than the team or anybody else on the court. He just lets the game come to him. He doesn’t hunt for the shots, he doesn’t go out and want to be the high scorer of every game. He can be the leading assist player of the game and he would probably love that more than the points.”

When it was time for the game to get underway, the Glen Ullin fans were already at a high pitch to watch the senior guard make history. But the only thing on Gerving’s mind was his team. Nothing else mattered, not even a single point.

“I was focused on getting the win against Flasher,” Gerving said. “I was more focused on the team and the win.”

To understand Gerving’s teamwork ethic, one would have to go back to when Gerving was just a third grader learning about the game of basketball. While the majority of the young players only cared about being the best ball handler, passer, rebounder and scoring leader, Gerving was more focused on becoming the best teammate possible.

While Gerving proved to be one of the best players on the court with the ability to read the defense and constantly finding the best way to score, whether it be by himself or a teammate, that’s not what made him fall in love with the game of basketball.

It wasn’t about the amount of points he scored, the assists he had, the double-doubles he acquired.

The only numbers that mattered to Gerving were the amount of time he got to be with his friends and the number of friendships he created throughout his time in the gym and playing the game of basketball.

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“I’ve always wanted to play and be in the gym,” Gerving said. “I loved being with my teammates and getting to know people from other schools, making a lot of new friends by playing the game of basketball.”

As Gerving’s skills began to shine brightly on the court, so did his leadership and his ability to bring his team together. The chemistry grew stronger and stronger with each passing game.

It did not take long for the guard to be labeled a captain on the Bearcats’ varsity basketball team, even as an underclassmen just scrapping for varsity game time.

For Pruitt, Gerving’s leadership is shown not just by his individual athletic abilities, but his attitude, even in tense situations.

“He never questions a ref call, he never gets mad at coaches, never gets mad at a teammate. He just likes to play, and I think you can just put simply into words that he just loves the game, and that’s what’s special about him,” Pruitt said.

Simply put — Gerving is one in a thousand.

Prior to the Bearcats’ matchup against Flasher, the team had a road matchup against Hazen. Gerving was nearly less than 30 points away from achieving the 1,000 mark. For any other player, that would be an excuse to go out and score as much as possible.

For Gerving, it wasn’t even the last thing on his mind. In fact, it wasn’t even on his mind at all.

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“Grant didn’t even know he was close (to 1,000 points) until I told him going into the Hazen game so that goes to show that some kids know where they’re at and he didn’t even care,” Pruitt said. “I just told him that he was 31 points away from it and he says ‘Well, if it happens it happens. If it doesn’t and we win, then I’m happy.’”

Gerving torched the 4-5 Bison for 30 points, just falling short of 31 after his last chance shot attempts fell just short. Still, Gerving left the gym with a giant smile knowing his team was coming home with a 67-55 victory.

With the Flasher game getting underway, the entire Glen Ullin gym roared with excitement knowing that the Bearcats’ leading scorer and offensive leader was sure to make history early.

The game had only just begun, but the gym had the atmosphere of an intense basketball game that was coming down to the wire. Everyone was on the edge of their seats waiting for Glen Ullin’s beloved senior that seemed to only care for his teammates to finally get the personal credit he so highly deserved.

It only took a two-pointer by Gerving to make the entire gym explode with pure happiness.

Immediately following the bucket, Gerving was ready to play defense, ignoring his personal achievement.

Pruitt had other plans and called for a timeout, the announcement of Gerving’s 1,000th point achievement crackled over the speakers over the high volume of cheers coming from the Glen Ullin fans.

“It felt good knowing that and having everyone there supporting me,” Gerving said.

For a moment, the senior took a deep breath with an effortless giant smile on his face and embraced his individual achievement by hugging his teammates and coaches.

“I was happy for Grant because he’s well deserving of 1,000 points,” Pruitt said. “He’s been a two-time All-Region player for us and just to see a kid reach that milestone … when that basket went in I knew we’d give him his moment in time, but I knew Grant would be back to business.”

Gerving did not disappoint. His smile and relaxed demeanor dispersed just as quickly as it had arrived. He officially had over 1,000 personal points, but he played as if he had zero.

The individual achievement was great, but it wouldn’t matter if he couldn’t celebrate a hard-fought team victory. Gerving was determined to not let that happen.

“It was a relief knowing that I just got (1,000 points), but I played the rest of the game just as I would any other game,” Gerving said.

The Bearcats came out triumphant, with a 66-58 score. Gerving was the leading scorer with 27 points.

“It felt good,” Gerving said. “We knew it was going to be a tough game, but we just overcame it and just finished strong.”

With the personal achievement now behind him, Gerving is excited to just enjoy the rest of his senior year by playing the game he loves with his teammates. Gerving hopes the Bearcats can go into the Class B Region 7 tournament as one of the top teams in the region and compete for a chance at going to Fargo and playing in the state tournament.

“That’ll be nice, just playing out the rest of the season,” he said. “We've got a lot of tough games in front of us, but hopefully we can finish strong.”

When asked what advice he would give to other athletes that may want to reach 1,000 points in their basketball careers, Gerving responded with an one-in-1,000 answer: Team first, always.

“Don’t be selfish. You can’t be searching for points. Just let the game come to you. Your teammates will help you out along the way,” he said.

The Bearcats are currently 10-5 and are scheduled to play again Feb. 2 at home against the Beulah Miners.

Matthew Curry is a sports reporter and photographer for the West Central Tribune.
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