by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Junior forward Clay Elrod joined Elk River’s 1,000-point club late in a 73-45 loss to Park Center on Friday evening.
Elrod yanked a loose ball from a Pirate defender on the blocks and banked home a basket that put him at 1,001 points. He had 19 for the game, including 11-for-14 on free shots.
“It was nice to get it done, especially on my home court,” said Elrod. “That was a good experience.”
That basket came with 1:37 remaining, the lone bright spot in a lopsided loss to the No. 3 ranked Pirates. Elrod, poker-faced, was hugged by several teammates and coaches, then took a seat.
Announcer Phil Johnson stopped the game and called attention to the feat which many in attendance already knew had happened. Johnson also listed the six previous Elk 1,000-point boys while congratulating Elrod.
The 6-foot-6 forward is only the second underclassman boy to reach 1,000 points. The other was Minnesota Mr. Basketball of 1992, Skipp Schaefbauer, the school record-holder with 1,808.
Elrod scored a career-high of 30 points against Park Center in a 76-63 loss there on Jan. 4. In that game the Elks led 49-45 before the Pirates took over. In the rematch, the Pirates held him scoreless until five minutes left in the first half and had a 42-23 halftime lead.
“They pressured us real hard and were switching all our screens down on the posts,” said Elrod. “They stepped it up (defensively) a lot more than last time.”
Elrod had seven points at halftime, and 12 in the second half, mostly at the free throw line.
Elrod lettered in ninth grade and has been a starter for two years, averaging 18 points each year. He said he’s starting to get letters from college programs, mentioning South Dakota State and Omaha-Nebraska as two of them.
The Elk boys 1,000-point club
Skipp Schaefbauer (1993) 1808
Matt Annen (2003) 1291
Tyler Macomber (2006) 1240
Jack Gavin (2009) 1121
Tom Ostby (1967) 1094
Ben Erickson (2011) 1036
Clay Elrod (2014) 1001