Male Area Athlete of the Week: Christy having fun playing basketball for Aitkin

Aitkin senior earns area athlete of the week

Eli Christy
Eli Christy

It has been Eli Christy’s time to shine in 2022-23.

The Aitkin senior continued his breakout season for the Gobblers with 34 points in a 63-38 win over Staples-Motley last week.

“My layups were falling,” Christy said. “I hit a couple of layups that usually don’t go in. Had a few lucky and-1s. I opened the game up with a 3 and then from there just started to attack the rim. Coming into the second half, I knew it was going to be a good game. After the first 10 points, I was like ‘I got this guys.’”

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Gobblers head coach Scott Stanfield said Christy was a little more patient in the way he attacked the Staples-Motley defense.

“He let the ball be swung to him a little more and when he had his chance he did not hesitate,” he said. “He was getting straight line drives to the hoop and would finish pretty strong at the rim. He’s plenty capable and he was very good with decisions of when to attack, when to pull up and he also rebounded pretty well.”


Last year, Christy served as the sixth man for the Gobblers and averaged 5.9 points in 25 games.

“He got some valuable experience last year,” Stanfield said. “We lost five kids, who played a lot of minutes last year and Eli started maybe one or two games when those kids were injured or sick. He played, but he wasn’t the focus of our offense. This year, he has put it upon himself to be a good captain and leader. He’s expanded his game and has those minutes from last year behind him. He knew himself better and what he had to work on over the summer and he’s done those things.”

Through 19 games this season, Christy averages 16.1 points per game on 41.2% shooting. He’s the team leader in rebounds, assists and steals for Aitkin.

Christy’s breakout started in the Gobblers’ fourth game of the season which was a 73-51 win over Hickley-Finlayson Dec. 20. Christy recorded 28 points, nine rebounds and 11 steals in Aitkin’s first win of the season.

A few games later he poured in 24 points in a 53-49 win over Pierz Dec. 29. In a 64-49 win over Menahga on Jan. 16, Christy led the way with 25 points for the Gobblers.

He reached 30 points in a 78-65 loss to Detroit Lakes Jan. 31.

“It’s been tough sometimes,” Christy said. “Last year, I was the sixth man and now I’ve jumped into the lead scoring role. It’s been hard, but I think with my teammates being supportive and if I have a bad game they don’t say it’s my fault. When I have those good nights, they just let me work and it rounds out nice with that.”

Christy provides versatility for the Gobblers in his ability to shoot 3s and post up smaller defenders.


“We post him up a lot,” Stanfield said. “Because he is so good with his back to the basket and elevates really well. We can attack mismatches with him and sometimes he has a smaller player. Other teams try to put a bigger player on him and we just let him attack the high post.”

Christy added: “I think when I post up it opens up a lot for our bigger guys down low. They draw in on me. They can jump up and take a shot and when they don’t I can hit the shot. I’m pretty comfortable down there, so they have to respect it and it’s beginning to open up a lot of shots for other people.”

Stanfield complimented his leading scorer on defense as well.

“He gets a lot of his baskets on breakaways from steals,” he said. “So every aspect of his game has gotten better.”

Stanfield added Christy is always smiling whether in practice, games, or just in the locker room.

“He’s probably the happiest, go-luckiest player I’ve ever coached,” he said. “He’s always got a smile on his face. Even when things go bad, he still has that enthusiasm that high school kids should. He sees the game for what it is and he sees it as a game and he plays it hard to the best of his ability.

“He keeps things light in the locker room and kids just gravitate towards Eli. There is not a kid on the team that doesn’t want Eli to do well because of that attitude. He never gets down on anyone. He just keeps plugging away and is easy to coach.”

Christy admitted he tries to put the emphasis on having fun with his teammates.


“Every sport that I’ve been in we just have fun,” he said. “We don’t care about wins and losses as much as having fun being out there. We are a pretty tight-knit group, so all the years building up to this we’ve had fun and I think that helps.”

Other notable performances:
Basketball: Peyton Church, Wadena-Deer Creek, finished with 24 points against Pillager.
James Stokman, Crosby-Ironton, finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds against Detroit Lakes.
Jared Hamilton, Pine River-Backus, finished with 26 points against Cass Lake-Bena and 21 points against Sebeka.
Hockey: Carter Oothoudt, Little Falls, scored a hat trick against Detroit Lakes.
Logan Verville, Northern Lakes, scored a hat trick against Morris-Benson.
Nordic Ski: Ethan Yorek, Little Falls, won the Section 8 Championship in 29:43.98.

Eli Christy

Year: Senior
School: Aitkin
Sport: Basketball
Position: Guard/Wing
Highlights: He finished with 34 points against Staples-Motley.

Started at the Dispatch in June of 2019.
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