Female Athlete of the week: Moenkedick breaks Verndale's scoring mark
Teresa Moenkedick doesn’t seek the spotlight, it just finds her.
The senior point guard led the Verndale Pirates to their best season in years. Verndale won the Park Region Conference and earned the No. 2 seed in the West Subsection 5-1A playoffs. But she did it with help from her teammates.
Still Moenkedick found ways to get her points. So much so she became the school’s all-time leading scorer as she dropped 28 points on the New York Mills Eagles during a 72-49 Park Region Conference win Feb. 19. Moenkedick finished the regular season with 1,535 career points.
“It means a lot, I guess,” said Moenkedick. “It hasn’t been broken since Dick Finck set it in 1969. It will mean a lot to me just to know that I did that.”
Moenkedick broke Finck’s record of 1,492 career points. She’s only the second Pirate girl to reach 1,000.
The night before she scored 17 in the Pirates’ 52-48 loss to Swanville. She followed her big night with a 25-point, 10-assist performance against Hillcrest Lutheran.
“I’m going to go back to last year and that really was a breakout year for her,” said Verndale head coach Art Schluttner. “She always was a good player, but once she got different kids around her she really broke out. She’s a quiet person. She’s not going to go out and ruffle any feathers. She’s fit into our system so well. She does whatever she needs to do and she’s willing to bust her butt in practice every night. She works and competes every night. She doesn’t back down from anyone.”
The four-year starter scored 523 points during the regular season to average 20.9 a game. She grabbed 102 rebounds for a 4.1 average and dished out 265 assists for a 6.6 average. That’s the number that’s improved the most. She also has 115 steals (4.6 per game) and she’s shooting 48 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point and 66 percent at the free throw line.
“We just worked on getting everyone involved,” said Moenkedick. “We knew we couldn’t depend on just me scoring because other teams were getting used to it. They (Pirate teammates) knew they couldn’t depend on me as much and they put it upon themselves to score more. We really worked at playing as a team.”
Moenkedick said the team goal was to win the conference, which they did with a 9-3 record. Verndale finished the regular season with a 19-6 record.
“It was an extremely fun year,” the three-sport athlete said. “It’s just so fun being able to be on a great team. We have great team chemistry and everyone gets along. It’s been a fun year.”
Last season, Moenkedick scored 578 points (22.2 per game) to go with 112 rebounds (4.3), 101 assists (3.9) and 120 steals (4.6). She shot 45 percent from the field, 33 percent from 3-point and 69 percent at the line.
“Teresa doesn’t want any fanfare,” said Schluttner. “She knew she was going to break the record and made me promise we weren’t going to make a big deal about it. Well, that same night she broke the record, we also won the conference and my wife had made T-shirts and we celebrated after the game. She glared at me and said ‘You promised.’ She’s just very humble. She wants the record, but she could live without anyone knowing she has it. She doesn’t need the attention and that’s been big for our team.
“We’ll miss her next year. She’s a great leader for our younger players. She is just super humble, super modest. She doesn’t want to be the kid everyone notices.”
Other notable performances:
Basketball: Chelsea Bonsante, Crosby-Ironton, scored 29 points against Pequot Lakes.
Kayla Miller, Pequot Lakes, scored 21 points against Crosby-Ironton, 25 against Rocori and 17 against Bagley.
Vanessa Lane, Pequot Lakes, scored 20 points against Crosby-Ironton.
Jamie Jenks, Little Falls, finished with 24 points and six rebounds against Becker.
Jessica Kreitz, Pequot Lakes, scored 21 points against Rocori.
Kayla Carter, Pierz, finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds against Pine City.
Brittany Kelly, Pine River-Backus, finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds and 10 steals against Walker-Hackensack-Akeley.
Bethany Cressman, Lake Region, was named MVP of the Minnesota Association of Christian Schools state tournament.