Kelly Pearson can score points in a number of different ways.
Which made her two free throws to reach 1,000 career points almost anticlimactic.
Still the Staples-Motley senior became the sixth Cardinal girl to reach the scoring milestone and the second named Pearson to do it at S-M.
Pearson scored 25 points in S-M’s 81-58 victory over Pequot Lakes. Her two free throws came three minutes into the Mid-State Conference victory.
“You always envision them making it on a shot,” said Cardinals head coach Arden Beachy. “The last couple of years, especially this year, Kelly has been really good at getting to the rim. Against Pequot, she went to the rim and got fouled. She made her two free throws to get her 1,000th point. After that though, it was like this weight was lifted off her shoulders. She finished with a quiet 25 points. She was shooting the ball really well at the beginning of the season and you could tell this was becoming a big distraction for her.”
Pearson is averaging 13.4 points a game for Class 2A’s ninth-ranked Cardinals. She is shooting 75 percent from the free throw line, 40-percent from the field and 30-percent from the 3-point. She’s adding 2.5 rebounds, 2.3 steals and 2.0 assists a game. She also averages 6.2 deflections a game.
“She’s pretty clever,” said Beachy. “She leads our team in deflections and gets a lot of kicked balls from using her feet. She has good instincts of how people want to go with the ball. She plays volleyball so she’s a good leaper and can rebound well.”
Beachy called Pearson a product of her two older sisters, Cassie and Nikki. He said she inherited the best parts of both of them.
“I agree with that because I learned a lot about how to play from my sisters,” said Pearson. “I was always watching them play and learned from their games how to improve.
“Even my cousins, they were all in basketball so it was great having that influence being around basketball all the time and watching and learning.”
Nikki Pearson finished her career with 1,221 points and along with Caitlin Robinson, who also reached 1,000 points the same year, was the last Cardinal to reach 1,000 until Kelly Pearson reached it. She said it was a goal, but one that couldn’t have been reached without her teammates.
“I knew eventually it was going to happen just because our team shares the ball very well,” Pearson said. “Some nights other girls will be on and scoring in double figures and other nights it’s someone else. I just try to stay consistent in my game because I know my teammates will get me the ball. I couldn’t have done it without my team. Mikayla Wing shares the ball very well and so does everyone else.”
The four-year varsity player earned Brainerd Dispatch All-Area and All-Mid-State Conference honors last season helping the Cardinals to the Section 6-2A finals. She averaged 13.4 points and 3.5 rebounds, while adding 70 assists, 43 steals and 23 blocked shots. She shot 45.6 percent from the field, 37.7 percent from the 3-point and 76.6 percent from the line.
Pearson scored 18 points in the Cardinals’ 87-34 Mid-State Conference victory over Park Rapids Jan. 15.
“She’s kind of a quiet leader,” said Beachy. “She’s a player that works hard at practice and does what you expect her to do. She’s very unselfish. She probably would have gotten 1,000 points quicker, but she’s on a team where everyone can score. She can be our leading scorer and get her 1,000 points, while also sharing the ball a lot and letting her teammates do their thing, too. That’s a great attribute of hers.”
Other notable performances:
Basketball: Kayla Miller, Pequot Lakes, finished with 20 points against Wadena-Deer Creek and 21 points against Deer River.
Emily Miron, Wadena-Deer Creek, finished with 28 points against Pequot Lakes and 20 against Park Rapids.
Caitlin Volkmann, Wadena-Deer Creek, finished with 21 points against Pequot Lakes and 22 points against Park Rapids.
Mickey Rocheleau, Pierz, finished with 20 points against Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa.
Jordyn Glenz, Verndale, finished with 30 points against Pillager.
Jasmine McGillivray Staples-Motley, finished with 22 points against Park Rapids.
Jamie Jenks, Little Falls, finished with 27 points against Becker.
Chelsey Bonsante, Crosby-Ironton, finished with 22 points against Bemidji.
Teresa Moenkedick, Verndale, finished with 22 points and seven assists against Menahga.
Megan Boser, Pierz, finished with 23 points against Rockford.
Vanessa Lane, Pequot Lakes, finished with 22 points against Deer River.
Gymnastics: Rachelle LeBlanc, Little Falls, won the balance beam, floor and vault to win the all-around with a 37.125 against Becker. She won all four events to score a first-place 36.925 all-around against Princeton.