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Warriors Athlete of Week: Warriors’ Nelson joins elite scoring list

Myah Nelson scored 1,000 points and also landed the honor of being the Brainerd Warrior Athlete of the Week.

Myah Nelson goes up for a basket and gets fouled.
Brainerd's Myah Nelson goes up for a shot against Perham and gets fouled, setting up her 1000th point during the subsequent free throw Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, at Brainerd High School.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch
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There is no “I” in Myah Nelson’s name, but there’s a 1,000-point scorer label next to it.

The Brainerd Warriors senior became the seventh girls’ basketball player in program history to reach the scoring milestone.

It happened early in a 65-55 victory over the Perham Yellowjackets Thursday, Feb. 24. Nelson needed just four points entering the game. She drained a 3-pointer and later was fouled on a lay-up attempt. Nelson sank the first of two free throws to turn the Brainerd High School gym into a screaming match.

“When I made the first 3-pointer I was happy because I was stressed throughout the whole day,” Nelson said. “Then when I drove and got the open lane, I just knew I was going to get fouled. I figured it was going to be on a free throw.

“I’ve been keeping track the last couple of games. I like knowing that stuff. I don't put that much pressure on myself, but I just need to know. My teammates didn’t know until that afternoon. They were mad at me because I didn’t tell them because they had to get the posers made and stuff. I’m just so glad for all of their support.

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“I am happy it’s over with. I can breathe and sleep again.”

Nelson joins Kylee Heurung (2017 graduate, 1,991 points), Margit Rinke (1993, 1,750), Megan Arns (2004, 1,567), Kayla Huether (2008, 1,351), Shelly Breen (1992, 1,216) and Sarah Northway (1993, 1,128).

“I was super excited for her,” Brainerd head coach and Myah’s father Troy Nelson said. “I knew it was a goal she’s had for a lot of her life and especially since she’s been playing varsity. I was super excited and also kind of relieved that it was over and that we didn’t have to think about it anymore. Now she can just stop thinking about it and we can only worry about winning games even though she did a wonderful job of just playing her game and playing our game and focusing more on winning games and just letting it happen.”

Nelson might have reached the milestone quicker, but she’s an unselfish point guard, who prefers assists to points. She said she probably could play as a shooting guard, but she loves playing the point.

“I like being in control,” Nelson said. “I know what I have to do. I like running the plays and I do like getting assists a lot.

We just didn’t put any pressure on ourselves. We just always played together as a team.
Myah Nelson

For the season, the point guard has scored 299 points (12.0 per game). She’s added 86 rebounds (3.4), 73 assists (2.9), 58 deflections (2.3), 52 steals (2.1) and three blocked shots.

“We are kind of whoever is hot is going to score for us,” Troy Nelson said. “We share the ball and if all of us are scoring we’re harder to defend. She does run the point for us so she is in charge of distributing the ball and getting us into our sets and those types of things, so it’s a big accomplishment when your system is set up for all the players to score and we’re not looking for one kid all the time.”

Reaching 1,000 points was the only individual goal Nelson set for herself. The rest of her goals were centered around team success and she and her Brainerd teammates are achieving many of those goals, too.

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“Coaching my daughter is a lot of fun,” Troy Nelson said. “She’s a kid who is team-oriented. She comes and works every day and enjoys herself. She’s a good teammate. It's been a lot of fun.”

The four-year varsity member finished with 14 points, two rebounds, two deflections and an assist against Perham. One night later, Nelson totaled 15 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals in a 56-45 victory over the Alexandria Cardinals. The victory secured at least a share of the Central Lakes Conference championship with Fergus Falls with a 12-2 conference record.

It’s the first conference title for the Brainerd girls since the 2001-02 season.

The win also helped Brainerd finish with a 20-5 overall record and secured its first home playoff game since the 2017-18 season. That year, Buffalo upset the No. 4 seeded Warriors.

It will be the same matchup Thursday, March 3, as the No. 3 seeded Warriors host the No. 6 Buffalo Bison.

“I’m surprised and I expected this success,” Nelson said. “It’s really nice to see all of our hard work finally paying off throughout our high school career. You just never know what’s going to happen during a season. It’s kind of surprising, but not really.

“We just didn’t put any pressure on ourselves. We just always played together as a team. We’ve been really good with that all the way through middle school and into high school. We just never had any drama. We just knew that if we did what we could, we would succeed.”

Last season, Nelson averaged 12.1 points per game (229), 3.7 rebounds (71), 3.6 assists (69), 1.8 steals (35) and 1.5 deflections (29). Those numbers were during a 19-game shortened season because of COVID-19.

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As a sophomore, Nelson averaged 11.0 points, 2.2 rebounds. 2.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.4 deflections.

“One of the things about playing the point guard is that the head coach is usually pretty hard on them and expects a lot from them,” Troy Nelson said. “I’ve done that over my career with a bunch of different point guards. It’s nice when you have someone you can be hard on and you know can handle it. She can just shrug me off when I’m upset and she can continue to keep us in our offense.”

Coach Nelson said his daughter’s composure this season is a bright spot and she’s improved her defense. Myah Nelson said it was her focus.

“I’ve really tried to focus on my defense because the offense was just coming naturally to me so I knew I really had to focus on defense,” Nelson said. “I just started to trust myself more and started pressuring more knowing I could do it with my fast feet.”

Nelson plans on attending the College of St. Ben’s for accounting and for track and field. The state relay runner said it wasn’t an easy choice.

“I’m pretty much sold on just track,” Nelson said. “It was pretty difficult knowing I could do both was definitely in the back of my mind, but since track has both outdoor and indoor seasons it was just better to pick one.”

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

Other notable performances:

Johnny Pecarich, boys basketball, finished with 25 points against Robbinsdale-Armstrong, 12 against Rocori and 19 against Sartell.

Easton Dircks, wrestling, won the 113-pound Section 8-3A Championship.

Gabe Wagner, wrestling, won the 152-pound Section 8-3A Championship.

Dalton Barrett, wrestling, won the 285-pound Section 8-3A Championship.

Damien Bentho, wrestling, finished second in the Section 8-3A tournament at 170 pounds to advance to state.

Mason Kuepers, boys swimming and diving, won the Section 8-2A 100-yard freestyle title and helped two relays to section, pool and school records.

Thomas Ruhl, boys swimming and diving, placed second in the 100-yard backstroke and helped two relays to section, pool and school records at the Section 8-2A meet.

Cade Rosenwald, boys swimming and diving, advanced to state in four events, including two relays that set section, pool and school records at the Section 8-2A meet.

Parker Tatge, boys swimming and diving, placed second in the 200-yard freestyle and was part of the section, pool and school record-breaking 200 freestyle relay at the Section 8-2A meet.

Cayden Sumption, boys swimming and diving, was part of the section, pool and school record-breaking 200 medley relay at the Section 8-2A meet.

Mitchell Degen, boys basketball, finished with 27 points against Rocori and 27 points against Sartell.

Cam Engholm, boys basketball, finished with 22 points against Rocori.

Myah Nelson

Nelson_Myah.JPG
Myah Nelson

Sport: Girls basketball

Position: Point guard

Year: Senior

Age: 17

Height: 5-foot-8

Career highlight: Scoring 1,000 career points

Other sports: Volleyball and track and field

Grade-point average: 3.983

Favorite class: Novels

Favorite food: Ice cream

Favorite movie: “The Notebook”

Favorite TV show: “Selling Sunset”

Favorite website or app: Snapchat

Favorite restaurant: The Boulder Tap House

Future plans: Attend the College of St. Benedict for accounting and track and field

Favorite athlete: Steph Curry

Parents: Troy and Angie Nelson

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