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Voyageur's Best Sports of 2005

Kylee Smith

1,000 reasons why the Cardinals are rolling
Kylee becomes 6th player in Cromwell to score 1,000 points
by John Grones  |  January 11, 2005

There was a nice crowd for the high school girls basketball match-up between the Cromwell Cardinals and McGregor Mercuries on Thursday, January 6. Just three seconds into the game, the crowd sensed it was going to be a special night for one Cromwell player, Kylee Smith. Kylee won the jump ball, tipped it to Alissa Granholm, who passed it to Alexa Grones and back to Kylee on the right wing for a 3-point basket.

Before McGregor knew what hit them, Kylee had scored 12 points in the first quarter on her way to a career high 37, leading the team to its ninth win of the season. Cromwell could do nothing wrong in the second half of the game and won going away 63-19.

The possibility of reaching the 1,000 point milestone did not affect the Polar League conference MVP. Kylee needed 35 points to reach 1,000 and she calmly poured in 37 points on 15 of 22 shooting from the field and two of three shooting at the free throw line. In addition she corralled 14 boards and had one assist in the victory.

By the fourth quarter there was nervous anticipation as Kylee neared the 1,000-point career mark, for everybody, that is, but Kylee. “I didn’t know how many points I needed,” said Kylee. “I tried to keep my mind off of it. I didn’t want it to affect my game and miss simple layups.” The 1,000th point came off a set play at the 6:55 mark of the fourth quarter. Kylee hit a 3-pointer on the right wing and drew nothing but net.

Kylee’s performance was a special one, and anybody that knows about her work ethic can appreciate her accomplishment. Head coach Dave Foster has been her coach for the past season and a half. He feels that Kylee is the toughest player he has ever coached. “She’s the toughest mentally and most focused basketball-wise,” he said after the game. No other words were needed. He knew it was a special evening for his team and one hard-working player.

For McGregor, it was a tough night. They began with a solid offensive game-plan, but defensively they could not stop Cromwell’s offense. Cromwell destroyed McGregor’s half court trap with lay-ups on their way to a 33-15 point halftime lead.

In the second half, the Cardinals picked up the defense and limited the Mercuries to just one field goal and four total points. Alecia Bodway hit a shot to start the second half and free throws by Sammy Honstrom and Lacey Sprague were the extent of the Mercury scoring.

McGregor has witnessed two 1,000-point milestones this year. Albrook’s Jen Anderson scored her 1,000th point in McGregor on December 6. Witnessing 1,000-point accomplishments is nothing new to Cromwell either. Kylee recalls watching one of her favorite players reach milestones versus the Cardinals. “Justine Axtell scored her 1,000th and 2,000th point against us,” Kylee explained with a great appreciation for the accomplishments. “I liked the way she played. She played real smart.”

Playing smart is obviously a trait that Kylee has picked up from her mentor. Her coaches enjoy the fact that, overall the team consists of a many players that are in the top of the class academically.

Other individual performances by Cromwell included 10 points, nine assists, eight steals and seven rebounds by Alexa Grones. Alissa Granholm contributed nine assists and seven boards. Janel Jordan and Selena Smith each added eight points.

Cromwell is now 9-2. McGregor falls to 1-9. The two teams won’t play again until the last game of the season, Thursday, February 17.

Next week, Cromwell will travel to Floodwood on Monday, January 10 and Esko on Thursday, January 13.

McGregor will host Northland-Remer on Monday, January 10 and Carlton on Thursday, January 13.

This article first appeared in the January 11, 2005 issue of the Voyageur Press.