Female Area Athlete of Week: Nixon scores season-high one game, gets 1,000th point the next

Karli Nixon.jpeg
Karli Nixon.

Karli Nixon capped off a big week by scoring her 1,000th point Friday, Feb. 14, against Staples-Motley.

The game prior, the junior guard for the Crosby-Ironton Rangers scored a season-high 26 against Moose Lake-Willow River. In the game against ML-WR, she shot a season-high 12 free throws making eight.

“It was a physical game,” Nixon said. “There were a lot of fouls being called. So we knew driving was kinda the way to go. There was a lot of pushing the floor plays. Lily (Peterson) got a lot of assists that game from us pushing the floor and long passes for layups.”

Nixon’s aggressiveness has been noticed by Rangers head coach Peter Vukelich.

“She is just driving the ball more and not relying on the fastbreaks as much,” Vukelich said. “She hasn’t shot it as well as she probably thought, but she keeps shooting. And shooters shoot out of slumps.”


Nixon averages 15 points, 5.0 rebounds and a team-leading 2.5 steals a game.

She improved her scoring and rebounding averages from last year thanks to a stronger mentality.

“I used to get down on myself a lot during games or get discouraged easily,” Nixon said. “So to be able to pick it up a little faster this year has really helped me. Just figuring out not what others expect from me as a guard, but what I am typically better at.”

Vukelich said Nixon runs the floor in the fastbreak well. Her quickness helps her on both ends of the floor and in getting layups. It also helps to have a good working relationship with your point guard. Nixon and Peterson have been playing with each other for years.

“We have been playing with each other since the third grade,” Nixon said. “She is my best friend on and off the court. I could not ask for a better teammate or friend. It’s always been a package deal with her and I.”

What’s exciting for Vukelich is he has one more year with both.

“They just know where each other is going to be all the time,” Vukelich said of the Nixon-Peterson tandem. “Instead of fading to the corner like Karli would do a lot, she has been fading into the paint which is nice and Lily is able to find her. They have a great relationship and I’m happy we have one year left of them.”

It’s Nixon's passion for basketball where she feels she gets a leg up on her opponents.


“I like to put in the work,” Nixon said. “I love being around a team environment. A lot of these girls I have played with for many, many years. I liked to go out there and just give it my all and hopefully, it’s enough.”

Vukelich coached Nixon in junior high cross country and has seen her grown into the athlete she has become.

“Karli used to be just running to the rim,” Vukelich said. “Now she’s shooting 3s, helping break the press and getting steals on defense instead of just being the girl that runs to get a layup.”

The next game after ML-WR, Nixon finished with 12 points and reached 1,000 points for her career against Staples-Motley.

When she scored her 1,000th point she couldn’t begin to name the number of family members there to support her accomplishment.

“It was an amazing experience,” she said of reaching 1,000 points. “I don’t really believe it. I just remember playing with Shyanne (Loiland) last year and her getting her 1,000th. It’s such a big milestone and to think I have it is surreal.”

Crosby-Ironton ended its regular season with a 15-11 record, but know they have a team that can make a postseason run when clicking.

“We have a lot to look forward to,” Nixon said. “It’s been neck and neck with a lot of teams and a few of our games we lost in the second half. Just hoping to build off those and improve going into the playoffs.”


Other notable performances:
Basketball: Maci Martini, Pequot Lakes, scored 21 points against Aitkin
Juliana Ewald, Pillager, scored 23 points against Sebeka and 22 points against Pierz
Olivia Adkins, Pine River-Backus, scored 25 points against Red Lake and 30 points against Nevis
Madison Carsten, Wadena-Deer Creek, scored 24 points against Pillager
Lily Peterson, Crosby-Ironton, scored 21 points against Moose Lake-Willow River and 22 points against Barnum
Melissa Hammer, Verndale, scored 16 points and grabbed 16 rebounds against Bertha-Hewitt
Tess Jones, Verndale, scored 20 points against Bertha-Hewitt
Haley Cichos, Staples-Motley, scored 23 points against Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton.

Karli Nixon

Year: Junior

School: Crosby-Ironton

Sport: Basketball

Position: Guard

Highlights: Scored 26 points against Moose Lake-Willow River and reached her 1,000th career point against Staples-Motley.

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