Region 7 1,000-point scorers
Scoring 1,000 points in a high school career is a coveted feat conquered by an exceptional few. Around Region 7, eight players hit the impressive mark this season.
Alyssa Andress junior guard Hettinger-Scranton Night Hawks
On Feb. 28, Andress reached the milestone by opening the scoring of a Class B State quarterfinal against Trenton with a layup. She finished the contest with 11 points and seven rebounds, including the game-sealing free throw during overtime of a 48-44 Night Hawks victory. Andress was later selected to the All-Tournament team as Hettinger-Scranton captured fourth at state.
"It was crazy. We had one of those break-out, transition plays and I scored the layup. It was crazy, there were a ton of people there and it was really loud, it was just fun to just score my 1,000th point in that kind of atmosphere with that kind of support.
"Mostly our team celebrated going to state together and accomplishing what we had as a team, but my teammates were very supportive. They all came up and talked to me, we kind of celebrated that (accomplishment), too."
Abbie Kludt senior guard Hettinger-Scranton Night Hawks
On Feb. 21, during a 42-36 victory over Dickinson Trinity in the Region 7 Tournament Championship game, Kludt scored eight points, while adding 11 rebounds. Kludt reached the milestone on the free-throw line in the game's closing seconds to seal the Night Hawks' first regional title as a co-op. At the end of the evening, she was named Region 7 Senior Athlete of the Year.
"Everyone kept saying it, but I wanted it to be a surprise. I didn't want to focus on it in the championship game, I just wanted to go to state first. ... It's such a blessing, we've been working for this for 12 years, going to the gym with all the boys since I was a first-grader, so it's finally nice that everything paid off."
Ellie Stafford senior forward Bowman County Bulldogs
On Feb. 8, during a 60-32 home victory against Hazen, Stafford finished her memorable game with 22 points. Helping Bowman County to a 19-4 record and a third-place finish in the Region 7 Tournament, Stafford was selected to the All-Region team.
"I had the number in my mind of the points that I needed and I was really trying to work hard to get it, but I didn't want to be selfish with the ball. I got it on a steal, I threw it out to a guard, then I cut to the hoop, and she bounced-passed it to me and I got it on an assisted lay-up. It was pretty cool.
"It was a moment of relief and accomplishment, cause it was a goal I set for myself and I really, really wanted this season, and I didn't know if I could get to that. I kind of thought that it looked far away, but as the season progressed, it was pretty awesome. ... My teammates were a huge part of it, I get countless assists from them and they help me on the court. We work together, we're one. My community is huge, they come to everything. We've had huge crowds all year. Younger kids come to our stuff and are so excited to watch us, so that was awesome."
Erin Walcker senior guard Beulah Miners
On Jan. 3, during a 50-32 home victory against Glen Ullin-Hebron, Walcker reached the milestone after receiving an assist from her younger sister, freshman guard Allyson Walcker. Erin Walcker, who is committed to play basketball at Mayville State University, connected on a game-winner against Beach during the first round of the Region 7 Tournament on Feb. 15. The Miners finished the season 7-16.
"I knew I was close before the game started, but I didn't really want to think about it a lot cause I knew shots wouldn't go in if I thought about it a lot. It was in the fourth quarter and we really needed a basket, and my sister passed it to me and I hit a three. It was a good feeling to finally have accomplished it.
"It was nice having her give it to me since it was her first year playing up with me, and it's the only time we actually get to play together. So it was bittersweet."
Isaac Doll junior guard Hazen Bison
On March 5, during a Region 7 tournament semifinal, Doll scored a game-high 16 points during a 54-35 defeat to Dickinson Trinity. The Bison finished the season 16-9 after placing fourth in the tournament.
"It's a big accomplishment. I mean, number one goal, I still want to experience the state tournament and all that good stuff. It's always nice to have an accomplishment like that just to know you're going in the right direction.
"It was the semifinal game, so I really wanted to win it, but in the back of my mind, I always have it. I needed four points going into the game. So once I got my fourth I kind of knew it, took a deep breath and was like, 'OK, good' then wanted to go win the game."
Cody Perkins senior forward Mott-Regent Wildfire
On Feb. 19, Perkins scored a game-high 24 points during a 63-33 home victory against Washburn. The soon-to-be Region 7 Senior Athlete of the Year knocked down three 3-pointers during that performance. Concluding its season with a 13-9 overall mark, Mott-Regent earned a first-round bye into the Region 7 Tournament before falling to Hazen in the quarterfinals.
"There seemed like there was a lid on the basket. I actually got my rebound twice, and I put it back up, and I got a foul call on it, too. So it was pretty special and the whole student section held out a big banner that one of my teammate's Mom made for me. It was really special.
"We have a great community in Mott and in Regent. Just in even some of the surrounding towns, (the support) has been huge and it's been a blessing to play in the Armory. It's always is packed in there and it's always on fire."
Gage Swanson junior forward Beach Buccaneers
On Jan. 11, Swanson scored a game-high 30 points in a 73-59 non-region win over Trenton, aided by a pair of free throws.
Beach lost in the Region 7 quarterfinals to eventual-champion Beulah, 84-53, bringing its record to 9-14. Swanson was named to the All-Region 7 team.
"It's kind of a cool accomplishment, I guess. I wouldn't have got it without my teammates. It's just another point, but without my teammates, I wouldn't have got it.
"I'd say making regionals last year and this year was a highlight."
Braden Zuroff senior guard Glen Ullin-Hebron Bearcats
On Feb. 22, Zuroff scored 20 points in a 68-49 win over New England on the road.
Glen Ullin-Hebron finished third in the Region 7 tournament, concluding its season with a 19-5 record, as Zuroff was named to the All-Region 7 team.
"It's a big accomplishment for me and my career. I want to give a shoutout to my teammates because without them, I could have had 500 by myself. Or I could have had 200 by myself, you never know. My teammates got me that award. To me, it's more of a team award and I thank them for that."