The Four-Point Play: 2,000 X 2
In grand fashion, Monday was a day for the record books.
Hancock's Noah Kannegiesser and Lac qui Parle Valley's Kelsea Lund both reached the career 2,000-point mark on Monday night, joining elite company within minutes of one another.
You certainly know their names by now, and thanks to their newly-minted spots among the area's all-time elite players, they won't be forgotten around these parts any time soon.
Kannegiesser and Lund both took similar routes to get to the cusp of the 2,000-point mark—getting buckets, namely—but the two guards had different routes to land at the destination.
Kannegiesser needed 20 points to get to 2,000 and scored 34 points in a 72-60 win at Hillcrest Lutheran Academy. The 20th point came without much drama as the senior guard came out on fire and reached the feat with 7:47 to play in the first half.
Meanwhile, needing 11 points on the evening, Lund was held scoreless until hitting a 3-pointer midway through the second half of the No. 7 Eagles' 66-60 win against No. 8 Wheaton/Herman-Norcross. Lund made a trip to the free throw line with just over one minute remaining sitting on nine points, but split the pair after missing the first attempt.
Fate was on her side, though.
With the game in hand for LQPV, a 3-point attempt from the Warriors rattled off the rim and found its way to Lund, who was fouled with five seconds to play. As she has for much of her career, the sharpshooter calmly stepped to the stripe and knocked down the first free throw for point No. 2,000.
12 area players have now eclipsed 2,000 points in their careers.
Two players scoring their 2,000th points on the same season is a complete rarity—much less those two doing so on the same day.
Spanning the history of area basketball, 10 players had recorded 2,000 career points coming into Monday. Over 22,000 days have passed since Jon Hagen of Belview became the first area player to reach the two-century mark, meaning only .05 percent of days since that day have seen an athlete reach 2,000 points.
It's only fitting that a pair of special talents would make for a special night.
Jordan Sagedahl had seen this from his brother Drew before.
No, not necessarily the record-tying 10 consecutive 3-pointers in a game, but that unconscious shooting coming off his little brother's hands? It was exactly reminiscent of games of H-O-R-S-E on the Sagedahl driveway.
"Yeah, he's had some games against me just like that," Jordan said.
The younger Sagedahl put on a display for the ages on Friday night, tying a state record by making 10 triples in a row in a BOLD win over Montevideo.
In a conversation just four days prior to Sagedahl's lights-out performance, Warriors head coach Jake Brustuen called his freshman guard "the best shooter in the program."
Still, though, neither Jordan, a sophomore, nor his head coach could have predicted Friday night's events.
"I knew he could shoot really well, but it came by surprise a little bit to see him hit 10," Jordan said. "He has the ability to make a lot of shots for us, but it still kind of came out of nowhere."
In a season full of impressive performance already, from Kannegiesser's 49-point night to 11-0 starts from both the Willmar boys and girls teams, Sagedahl's stands out from a pure efficiency standpoint: 30 points on 10 shots hoisted, mathematically, cannot be topped.
"I just kept my feet set and was ready to shoot," Drew said. "My teammates did a great job of finding me and coach keeps my confidence in my shot high."
What stood out to Brustuen was the poise shown by a player in his first year on the varsity team.
"He just kept playing his game," he said. "From my perspective, everyone knew what was going on and Drew knew it too. He just kept playing his game, getting open shots and getting to open locations. The only one that wasn't getting all hyped up in the moment was Drew, and that was a really cool thing to see."
It has been quite the start to the season for the Sagedahls, who have helped BOLD get off to a 11-2 start to the season.
While Drew entered Friday night's game averaging four points per game—making his 10-triple performance even more staggering—the elder Sagedahl is second on the Warriors with 16.8 points per game.
While I don't make them, the rules state that if your little brother sets a state record, your friends have to make sure you hear about it afterward.
"I get a lot of crap from my friends when my brother plays better than me, so I have to one-up him when that happens," Jordan said with a laugh.
So we can expect 11 straight threes from Jordan this week, then, right?
"I don't know about 11 in a row, but I'll do my best to help the team get a win."
Fun and games
Regulars to this column are more-than-familiar with the on-court achievements of Willmar guard Noah Slagter. Ask the school's all-time scoring leader about the records and the awards, though, and he will shift the conversation to what he's really all about: the team.
"It feels absolutely great to be able to do all of these things, but I don't really care about the records as much the team success," Slagter said after breaking Laura Nielsen's Willmar record of 1,628 points on Thursday. "I'll take the wins over the records any day."
And there has been plenty of team success to go around.
At 11-0, Slagter has already seen the most wins in any of his four seasons at the varsity level. Over the first three years of high school for Slagter and the other four Cardinals seniors—Adam Roux, Donald Jurek, Noah Getz and Cameron Murphy—Willmar posted a combined record of 20-61.
That makes this year's winning even sweeter.
"Noah, I know more than anything, wants to win so bad," Cardinals head coach Matt Williams said. "So it's been fun this year to not only have that individual success, but the team is winning, too."
In preseason practices, you could tell that it was likely that Willmar was to improve upon its 10-17 record from 2016-17, but an 11-0 start? That was dreaming.
What was incredibly apparent, though, was the team chemistry already existent.
"I love these guys so much and we all care about each other a lot," Slagter said. "This is easily the most fun we've all had playing basketball."
Kannegiesser got the buckets and Morris/Chokio-Alberta got the victory, but the real winner on Saturday was Stevens County.
After a 22-year hiatus, the Owls and Tigers renewed their rivalry over the weekend, once again bringing together on the court the only two boys teams in the county.
The two programs have been looking to play each other "for a while now," according to the Stevens County Times, eventually culminating in a 65-56 contest that was closer than the final score indicates.
"We've wanted to play Morris ever since I became head coach to start the rivalry again," Hancock head coach Cory Bedel told the SCT's Brooke Kern. "It was always fun to play a team just eight miles away and play against a lot of your friends."
In handing the Owls their first loss, the Tigers pulled out a crucial win—if a victory can be labeled as such at this juncture in the season—after a 2-7 start to the year.
Few Class AA teams have played as unrelenting of a schedule as Morris, whose seven losses have come to teams with a combined 55-14 (.798) record.
If the Tigers can pin together a string of games with the same kind of play they exhibited on Saturday, there's still enough talent to make a run in Section 3AA.