Duluth Marshall senior Gianna Kneepkens set a single-game Northeastern Minnesota record by scoring 54 points in the Hilltoppers’ 103-77 victory over Hermantown in a Lake Superior Conference girls basketball game Monday night at Marshall.
The previous record was 52 points set by Chisholm’s Judy McDonald in 1983 and equaled by Ely’s Letitia Dusich in 1997 and Silver Bay’s Jocelyn Russell in 2017. Kneepkens twice scored 51 points earlier this season and is averaging 42.9 points per game this season.
“I had no clue,” Marshall coach C.J. Osuchukwu said by phone after the game. “We don’t pay any attention to those stats until after the game when someone says, ‘She broke a record.’ We don’t think about stats; we just play the game and however it comes out, it comes out. I don’t think she knows it now. That’s a great accomplishment for her.”
On Monday, Kneepkens surpassed New York Mills’ legendary Janet Karvonen on Minnesota’s career scoring list and is now 15th in state history with 3,181 points. Earlier this season she moved past Mountain Iron-Buhl graduate Chelsea Mason as Northeastern Minnesota’s all-time leading scorer.
“Gianna is super locked in and focused on her craft night in and night out,” Osuchukwu said. “Mentally, the game of basketball has slowed down for her and it looks easy, but it’s not. It’s a lot of hours in the gym and a lot of breaking down the little things for her to have games like this.”
Kneepkens nailed six 3-point attempts for the Hilltoppers (8-1 overall, 5-0 LSC) and her 54 points tied for the eighth-best mark in state annals.
Elly Schmitz led Hermantown (5-3, 1-3) with 27 points.
Esko 48, Grand Rapids 35
The visiting Eskomos held the Thunderhawks to 10 first-half points en route to winning the nonconference game.
Sarah Wagemaker led Esko (6-0) with 17 points.
Taryn Hamling netted 16 points for Grand Rapids (6-2), which had its five-game winning streak ended.
South Ridge 59, Chisholm 55
Adella Olesiak and Alana Young combined for 35 points and nine 3-pointers as the visiting Panthers edged the Bluestreaks in nonconference action.
South Ridge improved to 6-2, dropping Chisholm to 4-3.
Northwestern 78, Hayward 39
Harrison Nelson led a balanced attack with 17 points as the Tigers improved to 14-7 overall and 12-3 in the Heart O’North Conference with the win in Maple.
Grand Rapids 64, Proctor 52
Brady Bachmann scored 17 points, and the visiting Thunderhawks broke open a tie game at halftime with a 40-24 outburst in the second half to win the LSC game.
Two Harbors 87, Mesabi East 64
Clark Nelson’s 20 points paced five Agates in double figures in the nonconference win at Two Harbors.