WEST SALEM — The Melrose-Mindoro High School girls basketball program welcomed a fourth member into the 1,000-point club last Thursday night.
Junior Katie Christopherson scored a game-high 24 points as the Mustangs topped West Salem 69-37 in the championship game of the West Salem Holiday Tournament, with her final basket of the evening pushing her over the 1,000-point mark for her career.
Melrose-Mindoro (11-0) slowly built a 34-21 lead at halftime, and Christopherson scored six points in an 8-0 run by the Mustangs to push the lead to 30 with 4 minutes, 35 seconds remaining. She was honored with a brief stoppage of play and acknowledgement from the home Panthers (7-3).
Christopherson knew she was 23 points shy entering the game, and had some help keeping track of exactly where her career total was at.
“The bench was kind of keeping me updated, which was nice,” said Christopherson, who connected on three 3-pointers, all in the first half.
While the bench helped tonight, Christopherson said she’s had an idea of exactly where she was at over the course of her career, and that it was nice be able to celebrate and then put it behind her.
“It felt pretty good,” Christopherson said of hitting the plateau. “My freshman year I had like 469 points, so it was nice to know after my freshman year that I was almost halfway there.”
With how potent, prolific and most importantly young the Mustangs roster is, Christopherson likely won’t be the last member off the current roster to join the club.
Melrose-Mindoro coach Joey Arneson said that junior Erika Simmons will also likely get to that mark this season.
“It’s something that I’ve been looking at for quite awhile, and it’s something we can cross off the list,” Arneson said of Christopherson’s night. “It’s something we can put on the back burner now, but at the same time, we don’t want to diminish what she just did.”
Sophomore Calette Lockington added 13 points for the Mustangs, while Simmons chipped in 12 points. Sophomore teammates Emily Herzberg and Mesa Byom each added 10. Sophomore Mya Jacobson and junior Brooke Bentzen each had nine points to pace West Salem.
The Mustangs ended the night with 29 rebounds led by Simmons with eight. Lockington led the steals category with six and Byom led with three blocks.
The night before, the Mustangs faced off against Tomah, who was 8-1 heading into the contest with their only loss coming at the hands of Aquinas. The Mustangs would get a convincing 70-35 win.
The trio of Christopherson, Simmons and Herzberg led the Mustang scoring attack with 14 points on the night.
The trio was equally impressive on the boards, as Herzberg led the team with nine rebounds. Christopherson, Simmons and Byom tied with six apiece.
Lockington chipped in 11 points and Byom added eight points. Lockington and Christopherson had four assists in the game, while Lockington lead with six steals.
The Mustangs are now 11-0 on the season.