As a senior, Erika Ogard wanted to make one final statement on the basketball court.
The Crosby-Ironton Rangers guard made it known that she wasn't about to end her high school career without a battle.
In the first round of the Section 7, Class 2A playoffs, Ogard poured in 22 points in a 67-49 victory over Deer River. It was C-I's first playoff win under head coach Randy Swanhorst.
"We had a tough last four games of the regular season where we lost two tough games," said Swanhorst. "We had kids that were in a daze. Our mental toughness came into question. We had a grueling schedule to end the year.
"After our Two Harbors game, Erika realized there is a small window of opportunity and she made it known to everyone that her career was coming to an end and she didn't want to end it like that."
Ogard battled in a 39-34 loss to top-seeded Greenway March 1 by scoring 16 points.
"The coaching staff and the players were hurting after that loss," said Swanhorst. "There were some tears and crying. Erika seemed content because she knew she gave it her all.
"The one thing I said to the team after the game was that somebody has to step up next year and find the kind of heart that Erika displayed these last few days."
Ogard finished the season with 288 points and a 10.3 average. She totaled 48 steals, 47 assists, 64 rebounds and one blocked shot.
She shot 31 percent from the field and 59 percent from the line. Both of those numbers, said Swanhorst, were better the latter part of the season.
"She has a great first step and can stop and hit the jumper," Swanhorst said. "She started hitting her three 3-pointers as well. Those are the two ways Erika got her points. Also, she is a great free-throw shooter."
Confidence was one reason Ogard was able to improve her scoring. As the team started winning and gaining confidence, so did its senior leader.
"I think it was confidence and our team got more confident," said Ogard. "My shots started to fall. It helps when you're doing well as a team and everything kind of went well for me."
Ogard will attend Concordia College in Moorhead next year and plans on pursuing a career in a medical field. She maintains a 3.736 grade-point average.
When Ogard graduates, she may leave a leadership void.
"She's a real all-round kid." Swanhorst said. "She has a lot of good things going on her life. With that, it was impressive how she did lead. I put a lot of emphasis on the seniors, and with her being the only senior, there was a lot of pressure on her.
"She's vocal and that's a quality I admire. She's not afraid to get after kids. She'll tell them what she thinks. She exemplified the fire and attitude I expect and want from my kids. That's why I respect her."
Ogard admitted that she's not afraid to get after teammates and said that's one thing her team may miss most.
"Nobody is going to yell as much as I do," said Ogard. "I don't do it to be mean, but to motivate the team."
Other notable performances:
Basketball -- Pierz's Emily Stumpf scored a career-high 24 points against Mora and 12 against Foley.
Pillager's Jessi VanVickle scored 21 points against Menahga and had 11 points and 10 rebounds against Nevis.
Staples-Motley's Michelle Honek scored 20 points against Pine River-Backus. Teammate Laura Warn had 20 points and seven assists against Perham.
Verndale's Kayla White scored 21 points against Cass Lake and 13 against Laporte.
Teresa Parker of Pequot Lakes had 23 points and six rebounds against Duluth Marshall. Teammate Julie Redebaugh scored 23 points against Chisholm.
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