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Girls Basketball: Strop scores 1,000th point in win

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The Wildcat girls' basketball team gathers around junior teammate Kylie Strop, in front, after Strop scored her 1,000th career point in the Cat's 55-53 victory over Rice Lake Friday, Feb. 8, in River Falls. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia 2 / 2

Junior Kylie Strop became just the fourth player in River Falls girls' basketball history to reach 1,000 career points in the Wildcat's 55-53 victory over Rice Lake Friday night, Feb. 8, in River Falls.

Strop joins senior teammate Bailey Reardon, who scored her 1,000th point earlier this season, Karly Murphy (2013-16) and Tessa Wells (2007-10) as the only 1,000 point scorers in program history. Murphy, currently a sophomore at UW-Green Bay, is the Wildcat's all-time leading scorer with 1,589 points.

Strop scored her 1,000th point on a left-handed layup with 5:45 remaining to give the Wildcats a 45-35 lead. The Cats appeared to have the game well in hand at the time but after a brief stoppage of play to recognize the milestone, Rice Lake made things interesting at the end.

Strop said the Wildcat's couldn't afford to let their guard down.

“It was a really cool accomplishment but then we needed to get back into the game right then and there,” she said. “My main goal was winning that game, not just getting 1,000.”

The Warriors pulled to within four with two minutes remaining before Strop hit three free throws to extend River Falls' lead back to seven with a minute to play.

Rice Lake wouldn't go away and got a three-pointer and a pair of free throws to make it a two-point game, 52-50, with 39 seconds remaining. Abby Doerre hit one of two free throws and after a Bailey Reardon block at the other end, Strop was fouled and hit both free throws to make it 55-50 with 15 seconds left, and Rice Lake hit a three-pointer just before the buzzer to make the final 55-53.

Point were hard to come by for both teams in the first half. A three-point play by Doerre gave the Wildcats a 10-6 lead midway through the half before the Cats opened up a 26-15 lead at the break.

Strop, who finished with 18 points, said the Cats did a much better job with shot selection in the second half.

“During the first half we weren't really able to connect but we kept pushing as a team, working the ball around to get our best shot, and I think we did a lot better job in the second half,” she said. “The first half we were just kind of jacking up threes.”

The win bumped the Wildcat's record to 9-8 overall, 4-5 in the Big Rivers Conference. The game was the first of three in four days for the Cats, who will visit Eau Claire Memorial Saturday, Feb. 9, and Hudson for a make-up game Monday, Feb. 11.

Strop said it felt great to celebrate her 1,000th point with a win Friday night, but added she and the Wildcats need to remain focused on finishing the season on a high note.

“It was really awesome,” she said. “Now we just need to keep pushing for new goals.”

Bob Burrows

Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.

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