Morgan Hill reaches a milestone in Game of the Week
Dribbling up the right side of the court at about three-quarter speed, Minneapolis South guard Morgan Hill hesitated for just a second about four or five feet outside of the arc, before accelerating hard straight at the Burnsville defender. The…
Dribbling up the right side of the court at about three-quarter speed, Minneapolis South guard Morgan Hill hesitated for just a second about four or five feet outside of the arc, before accelerating hard straight at the Burnsville defender. The player froze momentarily with a look of uncertainty that said she knew she was in a bad situation. That was all the hesitation Hill needed to step back and launch a perfect rainbow in the direction of the basket. The ball was airborne for what seemed like forever as the gym held its collective breath. SWISH!
Without so much as kissing the rim, Hill had scored the 1,998th, 1,999th and 2,000th points of her high school career. “It's a huge accomplishment to reach the 2,000-point milestone,” Morgan said quietly when it was all over. “I mean, I worked so hard to get to that first milestone of 1,000 but to get here is just such a huge relief.”
The Game of the Week started off a little slowly for Hill and her Tiger teammates. At times, it seemed like the historic bucket would never come. Morgan was clearly forcing the issue a little, trying to bulldoze her way to the basket through impenetrable traffic, putting up a couple of ill-advised shots, and just generally being out of sync for the first 8 or 9 minutes. “I was really feeling the pressure those first few minutes,” Hill admitted. “It was just so much, knowing that I was only three points away. I knew I had to pick it up, but it was really a struggle. When that shot went down everything just got a lot easier and everything flowed from there.”
Yes it did. From that point on it was Morgan as usual. She was launching threes, scoring in transition and undressing defenders at will, as she has done throughout an illustrious high school career. The 5'10″ guard and her point guard sister Jade (the #1 freshman in the state) were painting a masterpiece. Morgan even nailed a couple more threes from the exact spot where she launched the big one. It was all too much for Burnsville. By halftime, the Tigers were up by 26. After the break, the margin extended past 30 and into running time. With that, Morgan made her exit and South Coach Nathan McGuire sent in the youngsters to mop up an 84-60 victory. Morgan ended with 33 points while Jade had 19.
Never mind the milestone, the highlight of the night for Morgan was the surprise arrival of her sister Tayler just in time to witness the festivities. Tayler amassed 3,888 points in her career at South, the highest total ever for a 4A player in Minnesota. She went on to a decorated Big 10 career at Ohio State and is now an established WNBA star. In fact, she brought her Washington Mystics teammate Natasha Cloud along for the party. “I had no idea Tayler was coming,” Morgan said. “She just surprised me. I get so much comparison to my sister. I know I'm not going to catch her, but I’m happy and this is good enough to me.”
Hill wasn't the only one to reach 2,000 on Tuesday
It's always a cool moment when a player tops the 1,000-point mark, and it is happening more often now with elite players getting significant varsity minutes in middle school. Sophomore Mallory Brake of Hastings, the #6 Player in the Class of 2020, did it on Tuesday in a lopsided win over Eagan. Hill also hit the century in 10th grade, doing it in a game against Patrick Henry. But 2,000 points is still really rare.
By my calculations, Hill is one of fewer than 20 big-school performers ever to reach the mark. It's a star-studded list that includes name like Tia Elbert, Madison Guebert, Taylor Koenen, and Cayla McMorris. Want to know something even more remarkable? Hill wasn't the only Minnesotan to reach 2,000 on Tuesday! Sam Haiby of Moorhead has been on a tear since the season began. Last week, she parlayed a 45-point game into the top scoring spot in Spuds' history. On Tuesday, in a two-point win over Fargo (N.D.) Davies, the Nebraska commit scored 41 to surpass the same milestone as HIll. Unbelievable. At their current scoring clip, both Hill and Haiby will finish well into the top 10 of all time.
Player of the Game
Morgan Hill, Minneapolis South – What else can we say? It was her night.
New name to know
Carresha Russell, Burnsville – The 5'8″ senior is a transfer from Indiana who is super athletic and has terrific handles. She is a high-risk, high-reward kind of player, with plenty of swagger and the ability to break down defenders one-on-one. Her decision-making is sometimes suspect, but this is a talented player who deserves another look.
South: Morgan Hill 33, Jade Hill 19, Camryn Benjamin 10, Ariyon Kelly 8
Burnsville: Paige Servais 15, Zhane Thompson 12, Morgan Krumwiede 9, Megan Diggan 8