Feland scores 1,500th point, MLS GBB defeats Velva 50-36
VELVA — When Velva’s gymnasium burst into celebration after Leah Feland made a free throw, Mohall/Lansford/Sherwood’s senior guard did not understand all the commotion. After taking a moment to gather her thoughts, Feland realized that the seemingly mundane task blossomed into a historic accomplishment.
Feland scored her 1,500th point for the Mavericks (11-1, 2-0 District 12) in the first quarter against the Aggies (6-5, 2-0 District 11). MLS endured a sluggish start, but captured a 50-36 win.
The Aggies recognized Feland’s achievement with a public address announcement.
“Once everyone started clapping, I didn’t really know what was going on,” Feland said with a laugh. “It feels pretty great. I’ve had great teammates and coaches help me get this far, so it makes it a lot better. I love the sport, so I put my all into it. As much as I can.”
A flurry of early Velva 3-pointers put the Mavericks on the ropes. A mix of man-to-man and zone defenses helped MLS get back on track, but the Aggies led 31-26 at halftime.
“We need to be a little more patient,” MLS head coach Wayne Brackenbury said. “Let’s put it that way. We just tried to shoot the ball a little bit too much for my liking. We persevered today, I guess.”
Although the Mavericks trimmed the deficit, Brackenbury saw room for improvement.
“I kind of chewed them out a little bit for giving up,” he said. “That was our game plan, to not let (Velva) have threes. I knew they were going to shoot them. That’s their nature, they’re going to shoot the three ball. A lot of teams do that in this day and age. That’s the exciting part, but I’m not really thrilled about it.”
MLS listened to Brackenbury’s message. The Mavericks allowed just one point in the third quarter and four points in the fourth quarter.
“Every time we went to a 1-2-2 press and a little 2-3, it kind of screwed (Velva) up a little bit,” Brackenbury said. “We got some tips, some taps, some touches and a couple of steals. A little change of pace, but we probably should have done that a little quicker in the first half.”
Feland led all scorers with 25 points. Of the four Aggies who scored, freshman forward Olivia Passa (15 points) and junior forward Jade Lohnes (11 points) finished in double figures.
“Credit (MLS),” Velva head coach Chris Braaten said. “They had a really nice defense effort in the second half. It gave us some fits and kind of caused us to second-guess ourselves a little bit.”
After the game, teammates and fans gave Feland posters and cookies to commemorate the milestone. Although she showed confidence at the charity stripe, Feland displayed a bit of uncertainty when asked where she was going to place the game ball.
“I’m not sure yet,” she said with an ear-to-ear grin. “Probably up in my room somewhere.”
Both squads will continue play on Tuesday. MLS will travel to Our Redeemer’s (10-3, 3-0 District 12) at 7 p.m., while Velva will welcome Drake-Anamoose (3-10, 1-2 District 11) at 7:15 p.m.
Jimmy Lafakis covers Minot High School sports and Class B high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @JJLII30.