BOYS BASKETBALL: Red Lake’s Whitefeather racks up 52 points in game featuring two 50-point scorers
Mahnomen-Waubun boys basketball coach John Clark Jr. has been pleading with his team to play slower in order to limit mistakes.
He could only chuckle then Monday night when Mahnomen-Waubun and Red Lake combined for 201 points and saw both teams claim a 50-point scorer.
In Mahnomen-Waubun’s 110-91 win over Red Lake in Mahnomen, the Thunderbirds were led to victory by 50 points from Jayden Heisler, who outdueled Red Lake’s Kendall Whitefeather, who finished with 52.
“We could’ve had a 6-second shot clock and it wouldn’t have gone off,” Clark said.
A Minnesota basketball historian reached out to Clark by email Tuesday to say he was aware of just one such prior occurrence in Minnesota preps.
In 2013, Lakeview Christian Academy beat Deer River 112-107 with Anders Broman scoring 58 and Noah Kaczor scoring 54.
That game also happened to take place Feb. 12, Clark said.
“When the shootout started, I sat back and watched,” Clark said. “I have seen kids heat up in games before, but I’ve never seen two kids go back and forth and make everything.”
Heisler, a 5-foot-9 junior guard, was 17-for-30 from the field, 11-for-19 from the 3-point line and 5-for-9 from the foul line. He had four rebounds, four steals and one assist in 33 minutes.
“You could tell every time Jayden got the ball, someone was yelling ‘Shoot it!,’ ” Clark said. “He had lots of family there, and I’ve known them for a long time. I gave a couple of glances over there. I don’t know if you see too many bigger smiles than those.”
Whitefeather, a 5-foot-9 senior guard who also scored his 1,000th career point in the game, finished with 52 points, two rebounds and four assists.
“It was pretty intense,” Whitefeather said. “It was an important game. It was a loud and packed gym. I’m proud of what I did as an individual. I’ve never done anything like that.”
Whitefeather, who admitted it was a weird postgame feeling to lose a game in which he scored more than 50 points, said he noticed he had the hot hand early in the game.
“I realized it when I made two threes from close to halfcourt,” Whitefeather said. “After that, our coach set up plays for me to come off screens and shoot threes.”
Whitefeather was 11-for-24 from the 3-point line, 8-for-13 from inside the arc and 3-for-6 from the foul line.
“It was fun coming out and having fun on the court like that,” Heisler said. “The gym was packed. Everyone was loud. They’re a good team, too. They can shoot the ball. I knew that since they could shoot, I had to prove myself.”
Heisler said the most he’s scored in a game before was about 27 points.
“That’s a big jump,” Heisler said. “I never thought I could score 50.”
As the game progressed -- Mahnomen-Waubun led 58-42 at halftime -- Clark lost track of the individual point total.
“You know they’re making a lot, but you have no idea until the end they both have 50,” Clark said. “I walked over to the scorers’ table and just said ‘holy.’ ”
Heisler was one of four Thunderbirds in double figures. Parker Syverson had 21 points on 10-for-14 shooting.
“Actually, we left a lot of points out there,” said Clark, whose team is 12-8 overall. “We missed some bunnies and some free throws.”
Mahnomen-Waubun was set to play Park Christian on Tuesday night. Before the game, Heisler was asked if he could score 50 again.
“I’ll try,” he said.