Area Female Athlete: Confidence, stats soaring for Aitkin's Ehnstrom

Taylor Ehnstrom Year: Senior School: Aitkin Sport: Basketball Position: Guard Highlights: Hit 7-of-11 from 3-point to finish with 22 points against Barnum Taylor Ehnstrom struggled with confidence last season. That's not the case this year. The s...

Taylor Ehnstrom
Taylor Ehnstrom

Taylor Ehnstrom

Year: Senior

School: Aitkin

Sport: Basketball

Position: Guard


Highlights: Hit 7-of-11 from 3-point to finish with 22 points against Barnum

Taylor Ehnstrom struggled with confidence last season.

That's not the case this year.

The senior for the Aitkin basketball team has turned into a momentum-shifting sniper from long range and it's helped the Gobblers to an 11-6 record, including four wins in their last five games.

"I would say my confidence has come from my years of experience playing on the team," Ehnstrom said. "I've been more comfortable with my role on the team and with the plays and everything that our program does. I'm just more confident with all of that because of my experience."

Ehnstrom drained 7-of-11 3-pointers to finish with a team-high 22 points in Aitkin's 73-59 victory over Barnum Jan. 23.

Ehnstrom hit 10 points in the Gobblers' 64-44 Great River Conference victory over East Central. She knocked in six 3-pointers and finished with 20 points as Aitkin downed Isle 70-25 Tuesday.

The senior guard's confidence was on full display Thursday as she sank a school-record nine 3-pointers. Her 29 points led Aitkin to a 71-52 win over Ogilvie to push the Gobblers' conference record to 8-2. Aitkin has won seven straight conference contests.


"I've worked on my shot a lot," Ehnstrom said. "I've gone to a lot of open gyms and I've shot all summer and I worked with my brother (Aitkin's all-time leading scorer Nathan Ehnstrom) and my coach on my form."

Ehnstrom believes her biggest improvement is getting her shot off quicker. One thing holding Ehnstrom back last year was she was thinking too much instead of relying on muscle memory. A quicker release has allowed Ehnstrom's athletic ability to take over.

"Her ability to stretch the floor defensively and be that consistent 3-point threat allows us to get a lot more one-on-one opportunities in the post," said Aitkin head coach Rob Williams. "When we hit those dry spells, where we are still learning to play together, it's nice to have that consistent shooter out there on the floor."

Last season, Ehnstrom finished with team highs in total points (344), points per game (12.3), 3-point percentage (35 percent), free throw percent (74 percent) and steals (61). She was second in assists with 75 and added 46 rebounds. Those numbers landed her a spot on the Brainerd Dispatch All-Area Team as well as the all-conference team.

"Defensively, she's really become a tenacious defender for us," said Williams. "She is much more active in rebounding defensively and offensively and then just veteran leadership and experience behind the scenes, not just on the court. She's very good at picking up on the little things. If someone had a rough night, she makes sure that person gets a pat on the back and a word of encouragement. She's very in tune to her teammates and how they're doing with their confidence."

Williams said the most important thing for a coach is to have players that buy into what they're coaching. Ehnstrom has become an extension of Aitkin's coaching staff in that regard.

"As a player, we lost some very key players this last year. We had some graduate and then we had some of my classmates that had to have surgery so then they weren't able to play," Ehnstrom said. "As a player, I've had to step up and take that scoring role. There have been other girls who have done that as well.

"Also, as a captain and a role model, we have a lot of young players and I've done my best to be there for them. There are a lot of young girls so for me it's been a priority of mine to make sure that they're all doing OK and doing the right things."


This season, Ehnstrom is averaging 15.8 points per game. She's shooting 39 percent from 3-point, 72 percent from the line. She's averaging 2.8 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game.

Those last three stats are important to Ehnstrom who said with a young team around her she needs to be a complete player on both ends of the court.

"It's really important for me to be an all-around player," said Ehnstrom, who will attend the University of Northwestern in St. Paul and play volleyball or softball. "Yes, I'm an offensive threat, but it's important to me that that is not all I am. I do put a lot of effort on defense and reading the play and having good help-side defense. Our team is based off of defense so it's important to be a good defensive stopper as well as an offensive threat."

Other notable performances:

Basketball: Shyanne Loiland, Crosby-Ironton, finished with 16 points, 10 rebound and five assists against Wadena-Deer Creek.

Grace Imdieke, Lake Region, finished with 17 points and 15 rebounds against First Baptist and 23 points, 15 rebounds and six assists against Cambridge and 17 points and nine rebounds against Christian Learning and 28 points and 13 rebounds against Plaza heights Academy.

Olivia Lane, Pequot Lakes, finished with 27 points and 10 rebounds against Park Rapids and 18 points against Staples-Motley.

Bailey Wynn, Pine River-Backus, finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds, five steals and and three assists against Blackduck.


Shania Glenz, Verndale, finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds and eight steals against Sebeka.

Gabby Martin, Pillager, scored 23 points against Aitkin.

Kelsi Stuckmayer, Pierz, scored 20 points against Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa.

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