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Warriors Athlete of Week: Scoring record meant to be for Heurung

Brainerd’s Kylee Heurung takes the ball up the court during a game this season. Kelly Humphrey/Brainerd Dispatch

Kylee Heurung

Sport: Basketball

Position: Shooting guard

Year: Senior

Age: 18

Height: 5-foot-10

Career highlight: Becoming leading scorer in Brainerd High School basketball history

Favorite class: Psychology

Favorite food: Shrimp

Hobbies: Running, biking, boating, playing basketball

Future plans: Attend college, play basketball, undecided on major

Favorite basketball player: Steph Curry

Parents: Vic and Ginger Heurung

The stars were in alignment for Kylee Heurung.

She needed 13 points to become the leading scorer in the history of Brainerd High School basketball—girls or boys.

She wound up shattering Margit Rinke's career record of 1,750 by scoring 13 points in the first half of a 67-49 loss Jan. 20 at Fergus Falls. She became the school record holder on a putback of an offensive rebound with 33 seconds in the half. Heurung finished the night with 20 points.

Her uniform number? 13.

Her birthday? Jan. 20.

"I knew I was close (to the record) but I didn't know how much because when they (remodeled the Brainerd) gym they took (the leading scorers) down," Heurung said. "When someone told me it was 13 (to break the record), I was like '13. That's my number.' I thought that was pretty cool.

"It was a nice birthday present to myself.

The milestone was announced to the Fergus Falls crowd at halftime.

"I was overwhelmed at first," she said. "It all set in all at once—happy tears, proud.

"Fergus Falls cheered for me also. Congratulations everywhere."

Warriors coach Troy Nelson thought Heurung would get the record Jan. 20 if she relaxed and played her usual steady game.

"Most of the buckets came to her so I wouldn't say she was pressing," Nelson said. "It wasn't like it was the last game of the season. She knew it was going to happen. Maybe it was a relief to get it in the first half so we could just play the second half."

Heurung has been a complete player her entire 4-year varsity career. She's averaging 19.5 points this season and also leads the team in rebounding (11.4), a statistic that's often led by a post player.

"She just plays so hard the entire game," Nelson said. "She just goes, goes, goes. She has a knack for knowing where a missed shot is going to go and gets herself in position to get that rebound.

"When she's not shooting well during a game, she's still able to get close to her scoring average because of all those offensive rebounds, going and getting those missed shots and making putbacks."

Rebounding gets the team going, Heurung said.

"If I start rebounding, it gets everyone in a rebound mode to rebound also," she said. "It gets the game moving more. If you keep the other team from only shooting once, it's a good defensive thing."

In addition, Heurung leads the team in deflections (2.3) and steals (1.9).

"She anticipates real well," Nelson said. "When we're in a zone (defense) or even when we're man, she has a sixth sense for the game where she sees things happen before they happen. She's able to get deflections, which maybe lead to a steal, or get a steal and lead the fast break.

'She scores a lot in transition. We like to run. We like to push the tempo. She always seems to be in the correct spot when we're doing that."

Heurung remains a proficient scorer despite being the player other teams focus on stopping.

"She's getting chased a lot," Nelson said. "She's not going to sneak up on anybody. They all know who she is. They all know she's our leading scorer.

"Again, she plays so hard. And the girls do a good job setting screens for her, looking for her on cuts. We run some sets trying to get her some looks when they're chasing her.

"A lot of it is getting offensive rebounds, getting out and running when she gets a steal. Those things help her. Even if she's not making a ton of shots that night, she's still finding ways to get on the scoreboard."

One of the ways to which Nelson was referring is driving to the rim and drawing fouls. Heurung shoots 79 percent at the stripe where she has swished 97 of 123 attempts.

Next year, the Warriors' two-time captain is heading to Mayville State University to play basketball. She said Minnesota State University Moorhead and Concordia University St. Paul were among the colleges pursuing her.

"I've just started to let people know, and let all the colleges that were talking to me know, that I've committed," Heurung said. "I'm in the clear now."

Nelson said he has enjoyed watching Heurung grow as a basketball player and as a person in his four years as head coach.

"She has worked very hard on her game to be the best player she can be," he said. "It is nice going into a game knowing you have a player who averages 20 points a game and takes some of the scoring pressure off of her teammates.

"It is also challenging as you prepare for the different defenses you are going to see as opposing teams try to limit her touches and open looks. She's also set a tone for how hard you can work, game in and game out, and being tenacious on the boards.

Other notable efforts:

• Alex Stone, Alpine skiing, won the girls race in the St. Cloud/Annandale Invite at Powder Ridge.

• Millie Klefsaas, gymnastics, won three events and the all-around title vs. Sauk Rapids.

1,000-point Warriors

Year of graduation

BOYS

1997: Chris Bjorklund 1,718

2010: Kyle Crocker 1,438

1951: Jim Smith 1,376

1978: Randy Fabel 1,337

1958: John Emerson 1,318

2007: Landon Stanfield 1,200

2016: Kobe Ahonen 1,184

2013: Jack Sauer 1,069

1968: Jon Anderson 1,068

1990: Todd Vanek 1,044

GIRLS

2017: Kylee Heurung, 1,779

1993: Margit Rinke 1,750

2004: Megan Arns, 1,476

2008: Kayla Huether 1,351

1992: Shelly Breen, 1,216

1993: Sarah Northway, 1,128

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