Girls' Basketball: Reps is best
In a record-setting season for the Red Wing Wingers, the team relied on a rotation of eight or nine players on any given night. No matter who led the team in scoring, one player gave the team the boost it needed night-in and night-out: Lindsay Reps.
Reps, the 2018-19 Republican Eagle Player of the Year, had a rather auspicious start to her basketball career as a five-year-old.
"The first time I ever played basketball was for the YMCA," Reps said. "(My dad) came to get me and I was hiding under his bed crying. I was like, 'I don't want to go.' He dragged me off to it and ever since then I've loved playing basketball and I've gained a lot of friendships and new experiences."
Since that day, her love for basketball grew every year. In her senior year, Reps said it was the most enjoyable season and team she's been a part of. From the dances in the locker room before games and the time spent with each other off the court to the communication on the court, it was a balanced year.
"There was no drama. No attitude. Nothing that messes us up," Reps said. "We're all close. We had team dinners this year, which was new for us. ... We just hung out way more than we usually would. It was fun getting close with the younger girls. Having them know they can come talk to you whenever and hang out."
Reps led the Wingers with 17.2 points per game and provided solid defense as well, racking up 66 steals. What set Reps apart was her 3-point shooting ability. Reps attempted an average of nearly seven 3-pointers per game and made a staggering 48 percent of her attempts.
The points, the 3-pointers and her defensive play are impressive even to Reps.
Even when she wasn't the team's leading scorer, she helped the team win. For Reps, the leadership role gives her a bigger joy than putting up points.
"It's all about what happens in the game," Reps said. "I like to keep calm because I feel the people who do get (overanimated) in games, the refs don't like that. No one wants to see it. So I try to feed that off to my teammates when they get riled up."
The only goal Reps had in terms of scoring was surpassing 1,000 points in her career. In the team's first game of the season, Reps scored 14 points in a 75-54 win over Hastings to pass the milestone.
After she reached her goal, Reps continued to find ways to help the team win all season. In a five game stretch from Jan. 15 to Feb. 1, Reps played arguably her best basketball of the season.
During that stretch, she had just one game under double-digits in scoring. She scored an average of 22 points, highlighted by a career-high 33-point game against Mankato West on Jan. 22. In three of the five games, Reps had at least three steals. To top it off, she shot 72 percent (26 of 36) from behind the arc.
The gaudy numbers in those five games didn't signify a change or adjustment for Reps. She just played how she always does. If she's open for a shot, Elle Thorson, the Winger's main point guard, will find her.
"No one on our team really cares about points," Reps said. "All we care about is the end result."
Leading the team always came first because, as she said before, the points were nice but the team's success and hopeful state-run was what mattered more.
The Wingers fell short of a trip to the state tournament after a stunning 73-70 loss to Austin in the first round of the section playoffs. It was a shock to Reps and the rest of the team.
"They played the best game of their lives," Reps said of Austin. "They brought it all. We just couldn't come back. Everything was going fine. Our offense wasn't going as good as usual. It didn't look it pretty. We had a lot of dumb fouls. They shot really well from the line too."
Reps said Nelson reminded them that they became the first Big 9 conference champs and won the most games in a single season in Winger history.
That's a lot to be proud of.
As for basketball after Red Wing, Reps said she made the hard decision to not pursue it in college. Although she did say she could always tryout her sophomore year if she wanted to, she said it would be difficult to replicate what the Wingers had in 2018-19.
It was hard to not have gotten a chance at state, but Reps feels she and the team have done everything there is to do.