The list was already long and Kayla Miller just added to it.
The junior guard became the 15th Pequot Lakes girls basketball player to reach 1,000 career points.
Miller needed just 16 points to reach 1,000, but scored 23 in the 93-80 Northeast Subsection 8-2A opening win against Roseau Feb. 28.
A two-pointer from the elbow erupted the home crowd.
“It was definitely a dream,” said Miller. “When I was a little kid playing on the high school gym floor, I would look up at the board that has all the names of the players who have scored 1,000 points. I would read all the names on there and think about mine being up there, too.”
Miller said she didn’t realize she hit her milestone when she did. She knew she was close, but wasn’t sure how close. Everyone in the stands knew, though.
“It was really emotional, a large celebration,” Miller said. “It was also kind of funny because they didn’t stop the game right away. I couldn’t figure out why everyone was cheering so much and stuff. I didn’t know how many I needed or that was the one. My entire team did. I figured it out when I saw my mom.”
The three-year varsity player followed up her big night with 14 points to help Pequot eliminate Mid-State Conference rival Crosby-Ironton from the Section 8-2A playoffs March 2 with a 55-42 victory.
“She’s a very athletic kid,” said Pequot head coach Jon Dale. “She is one of the most athletic that has come through here when you look at three-sport athletes. Her desire and passion in basketball is amazing. She really wants to get a college scholarship to play basketball. She plays AAU ball. She works hard and she’s a talented player.
“People don’t understand that she guards the other team’s best offensive player and we still ask her to score points. Plus, we don’t take her out of the game. Against Crosby she didn’t come off the floor once. She does a lot. She is one of my kids that actually plays both sides of the floor.”
Miller first saw varsity action as a freshman during Pequot’s first of its most recent back-to-back state tournament teams. She helped the Patriots to fourth place in the Class 2A state tournament last season.
In Miller’s three seasons as a varsity player, Pequot has gone 47-25 and played in three straight subsection finals. Pequot lost to Crookston in the Northeastern Subsection 8-2A final Tuesday to finish the season 19-10.
“We definitely had our ups and downs this season,” said Miller. “The beginning of the season we were kind of shaky with a lot of new girls playing. Then we got it together and had some games where we played really well. Then we had a losing streak in there that was really hard to break out of.
“It was a good year and it should help us for next year, but it was really hard losing that game to Crookston. There were a lot of tears. I can tell you that. It’s something we have to accept and use that to work harder for next year. I know it was really hard for the seniors.”
Miller said she’ll work on her entire game during the offseason. She’ll concentrate on dribbling and shooting. Dale called her versatility a key to Pequot’s success.
“She can play inside and outside,” he said. “She can shoot from outside or take it to the rim. She’s tough to handle because she can penetrate and then pull up and hit a jumper.
“She’s always out on the break. Between her and Vanessa (Lane) we have two pretty quick girls and when you get both of them on the break it’s hard to keep up.
“Plus, she understands the game very well. She lives for it.”
Other notable performances:
Basketball: Vanessa Lane, Pequot Lakes, finished with 25 points and 12 rebounds against Roseau.
Megan Felthous, Pine River-Backus, scored 24 points against Northland and 20 against East Central.
Tatum Sheley, Pine River-Backus, scored 21 points against Northland.
Jasmine McGillivray, Staples-Motley, finished with 19 points against Holdingford and 18 against Albany.
Chelsey Bonsante, Crosby-Ironton, scored 20 points against Park Rapids.
Shania Glenz, Verndale, finished with 22 points against Bertha-Hewitt.