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Girls Basketball: Nelson reaches milestone in Warrior win

The Brainerd Warriors hosted the Perham Yellowjackets in a rare meeting.

Myah Nelson heads to the net.
Brainerd's Myah Nelson heads to the net for a shot against Perham Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, at Brainerd High School.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

BRAINERD — Myah Nelson has pictured it in her head so many times.

Whether it’s during an open gym, perhaps in the driveway or even during warmups, Nelson would hit a shot and imagine the public address announcer, in this case, Tim Peabody, telling the Brainerd High School crowd she just made her 1,000th career point.

That dream became reality Thursday, Feb. 24, when Nelson hit the first of two free throws to hit 1,000 on the button during a 65-55 non-conference victory over the Perham Yellowjackets.

“In warm-ups, I just had a feeling it was going to come on free throws so I just kept practicing my free throws and of course, I got it rejecting the screen, which I’ve done so many times in my career so it was just perfect,” Nelson said.

Myah Nelson shoots a free throw and gets her 1,000th point.
Brainerd's Myah Nelson shoots a free throw against Perham, getting her to 1,000 career points Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, at Brainerd High School.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Nelson entered the game needing four points after scoring 12 in Wednesday night’s victory over Sartell. The senior point guard opened with a 3-pointer that gave Brainerd a 6-0 edge at the 15:49 mark. A Myah Tautges layin then proceeded the free throws. Nelson did hit both free throws for an early 10-3 edge.

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“I was just nervous coming into the game,” Brainerd head coach and Myah’s father Troy Nelson said. “She’s a good free-throw shooter. I sat down with her when we took her out of the game for a little bit and I said ‘you got it on our two plays that you’ve probably gotten the most points of your career. The two sets that we run to get her looks and she got them.

“I’m just proud of her. She’s worked really hard for this and put in a lot of time in the offseason.”

Brainerd used an 8-2 run, highlighted by two Olivia Tautges buckets to build a 20-9 advantage. Tautges led the Warriors with 19 points and eight rebounds. Nine of those points came in the first half. Nelson scored eight of her 14 points in the first half as Brainerd built a 30-18 halftime lead.

“We just knew they were going to shoot a lot of 3s so we had to pressure them so they didn’t pass it into the post and then just get out to their 3s,” Nelson said. “In the second half, we just had to keep rebounding and keep doing our stuff. We were playing really good defense and we knew the defense was going to win the game.”

Meghan Smith hit two 3s and Emma Tautges added one. Brainerd was a 6-of-11 (55%) from 3-point in the first half.

“When we can hit outside shots things just go for us,” Troy Nelson said. “We play better defense and it opens up our driving lanes and our curls. It was nice to get some of those to fall today against a really good Perham team.”

In the second half, Olivia Tautges took over. After Perham cut Brainerd’s lead to 32-22, Brainerd went on an 11-3 run, with Olivia scoring seven of those points.

“Olivia is our mismatch,” Troy Nelson said. “She really proved it today. She played really good defense and then the last couple of games she’s just been super aggressive in getting to the rim. She’ll shoot those 3s when she’s open, but she’s not settling. She’s getting to the rim and getting to the foul line because of it and has done a great job.”

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An AJ Johnson basket built Brainerd’s lead back to 51-31, but Perham rallied.

Sydney Anderson, who along with Willow Thiel led Perham with 15 points, scored five straight points and Thiel added consecutive baskets for an 11-2 Perham run. Thiel later hit two free throws and Ryleigh Mickelson hit the first of her two 3-pointers to cut Brainerd’s lead to 59-50. Emma Tautges then hit four straight free throws and Nelson sealed the win with two more free throws.

Emma Tautges finished with 13 points and Smith scored eight for the Warriors. Great Hlllukka added 12 points for the Yellowjackets.

The Brainerd girls basketball team celebrates Myah Nelson getting her 1000th point.
Brainerd teammates celebrate Myah Nelson getting her 1000th point Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, at Brainerd High School.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Nelson becomes the seventh Brainerd girls basketball player to reach the scoring milestone. Those names include Sarah Northway (a 1993 graduate), Shelly Breen (1992), Kayla Huether (2008), Megan Arns (2004), Margit Rinke (1993) and most recently Kylee Heurung (2017).

“I’ve pictured that moment all the time,” Nelson said about her 1,000th point. “Ever since I started playing I’ve imaged it and now it’s finally true. It feels good.”

Perham 19 36 -- 55

Brainerd 30 35 -- 65

PERHAM

Greta Hillukka 12, Kennedy Pilgrim 5, Willow Thiel 15, Sydney Anderson 15, Caitlin Baardsen 2, Ryleigh Mickelson 6. FG 18-48 (38%), FT 14-18 (78%). 3-point 5-15 (33%).

BRAINERD

Kate Stadum 4, Myah Nelson 14, Meghan Smith 8, Mya Tautges 2, Olivia Tautges 19, Emma Tautges 13, AJ Johnson 5. FG 21-43 (49%), FT (75%). 3-point (44%).

JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 218-855-5856 or jeremy.millsop@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop.

Warriors 65, Perham 55

Key: Olivia Tautges dominated the paint to lead Brainerd to a 10-point win

Overall: Brd 19-5, P 18-6

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Next: Brainerd hosts Alexandria 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25

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