OSSEO — Though it came in a loss, senior guard Lindsey Murphy achieved a career milestone very few others have in the history of Necedah basketball.
Murphy passed the 1,000-point mark for her career in Necedah’s 86-66 loss to Osseo-Fairchild (17-4) Monday, Feb. 12 in Osseo. She became just the fourth player in Necedah girls basketball history to reach 1,000 points.
“Freshman year I didn’t really expect to be this close,” Murphy said of the achievement. “And then sophomore year I kind of made that my end goal, to one day get this, hopefully.”
Murphy came into the night needing 10 points to hit the mark. In the latter stages of the second half, she was fouled and sent to the free-throw line with a chance to score her 1,000th point. After sinking her first free-throw attempt, Murphy received a standing ovation from the Necedah fans in attendance, several of whom unfurled a banner commemorating her achievement.
“It’s pretty special,” said Necedah head coach Pete Lowery. “It came on a free throw, so there was a stoppage in action and she was able to be acknowledged, everyone was able to cheer her on and it wasn’t stopping the flow of the game.”
It was just the latest accolade for Murphy, a four-year starter who garnered All-Scenic Bluffs honorable mentions as a freshman and sophomore and an all-conference first-team selection last year as a junior.
“She’s worked hard in the last four years,” Lowery said. “She’s worked at her game and improved every year. Biggest improvement, the last two years, is that her attitude has been wonderful. She’s a competitor. She tries hard every night. She expects a lot out of herself and she expects a lot out of her teammates. It’s been a pleasure to coach her and watch her grow over the last four years.”
Murphy scored 11 points and sophomore forward/guard Miah Hansen finished with 13 points for the Cardinals (10-10), but it was not enough to keep pace with the Thunder Monday night. For Osseo-Fairchild, senior guard Brooke Freitag led the way with a game-high 16 points, while junior guard Sophiah Filla and senior forward Megan Steinke each added 13 points of their own.
The game started off well enough for Necedah, who flew out to a 7-0 lead. But the Thunder struck back to outscore the Cardinals 35-15 throughout the remainder of the first half for a 13-point halftime advantage.
The second half was more of the same, with Osseo-Fairchild further building up its lead on its way to a comfortable victory. The Cardinals have now dropped six straight games after a 10-4 start to the season.
Nevertheless, the Necedah fans that made the roughly 75-mile trip to Osseo were given something to cheer about thanks to Murphy’s milestone night. The Cardinals bench also erupted when sophomore center Mackenzie Beranek knocked down a jumper for her first points of the season in the waning minutes of the game.
And despite the loss, Lowery believes playing a stout Division 4 opponent late in the year is important for a team like Necedah, who faces mostly Division 5 competition throughout the season but then must compete against Division 4 schools come playoff time.
“It’s important because the kids have to know where we’re at too,” Lowery said. “The last few games have been a difficult stretch for us — lost some tight ballgames and we’ve got to overcome some mental aspects of the game and keep playing hard.”
Following the conclusion of their conference slate this week, the Cardinals will turn their attention to the postseason. Necedah earned a No. 9 seed in the Division 4 Richland Center sectional and will square off against the eighth-seeded Lancaster Flying Arrows (7-12) in the regional quarterfinals Tuesday, Feb. 20 at 7:00 p.m. at Lancaster High School.