It was more relief than joy for Chelsey Bonsante.
When her layup glided over the long reach of Wadena-Deer Creek’s Emily Miron and landed through the basket, the long, stressful wait was over.
The basket landed Bonsante into a group of seven other Crosby-Ironton Rangers as she reached 1,000 career points during the Jan. 8 game against W-DC. Bonsante joined Nicole Hills, Katie Galovich, Alicia Stockard, Robin Rude, Kim Rosecrans and Jana Anderson as Rangers who have surpassed the scoring milestone.
“It was kind of nerve-wracking,” said Bonsante of the looming number. “I knew how many points I needed, but I still needed to go out and play for the team. It was kind of annoying in a way. It was a big stress relief to get it done with.”
Bonsante finished with 19 points, five rebounds and four assists in the loss.
She admittedly struggled leading up to her milestone. The senior guard shot just 3-of-15 from the field against Pelican Rapids and finished with 13 points. She shot 20 percent against St. Cloud Cathedral and 12 percent against Pierz.
Even with those poor shooting nights, Bonsante is shooting 31 percent from the field (56-of-181) to go with 76 percent from the free throw line.
“It’s always hard when you know it’s coming and maybe more so because we’re trying to find ourselves as a team, too,” said Rangers head coach Randy Swanhorst. “(Reaching 1,000) should be a pleasure and an honor and a fun experience, but it tends to be a no-win situation. The pressure of it all takes away from the fun of it all. It was on her mind and certainly, in our talks, she mentioned that. It got to be she would lose confidence in her shot. When she finally got it it was a huge weight off her shoulders.”
The four-year varsity player is averaging, 16.2 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.6 steals a game for the 5-7 Rangers. Last season, Bonsante led the Rangers to the North Subsection 8-2A finals. That’s the goal again, but like last year, C-I is struggling.
“I knew we were going to struggle a little bit at the beginning of the year,” said Bonsante. “We have a lot of younger players, but I expected us to always come out and give it our all. I didn’t expect us to be doing as poorly record wise as we are, but we’re playing hard and that’s all you can ask.
“We want to improve upon what we did last year, but we know we have to come together as a team. We struggled last year, too, so this isn’t anything new for us. If we come together we can do what we did last year.”
Last season, Bonsante averaged 16.1 points and 4.9 rebounds to go with 54 assists and 67 steals.
Swanhorst said Bonsante’s best attribute is her work ethic. That work ethic and attitude stems from a knee injury Bonsante suffered before her sophomore season.
“Having the knee injury took away basketball from me,” said the future Hamline University student and player. “Not being able to play for four months was hard. I decided then that I didn’t want to waste anytime. Basketball is going to end for me someday and I don’t want to waste anytime now.
“I love the high pressure games. I love just being around my teammates and that kind of environment. So I figure why waste your time being average, when you can work hard to be great. That’s how I created my work ethic.”
Other notable performances:
Basketball: Tatum Sheley, Pine River-Backus, scored 23 points against Cass Lake-Bena to reach 2,000 for her career. She added 13 points, eight rebounds, six assists and six steals against Isle.
Emily Miron, Wadena-Deer Creek, finished with 23 points against Crosby-Ironton.
Bethany Cressman, Lake Region, finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds against Foreston, 18 points, six rebounds and five steals against Chisago Lakes and 10 points against Heritage.
Teresa Moenkedick, Verndale, finished with 21 points against Sebeka.
Hockey: Madison Galligan, Northern Lakes, made 14 saves for a 4-0 shutout of Morris-Benson.
Nordic ski: Maria Hauer, Little Falls, won the Mora Invite in 16:24.