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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Taryn Frazer breaks Cass Lake-Bena scoring record in clutch win

Taryn Frazer broke the Cass Lake-Bena girls basketball program record for points on Saturday, surpassing Amanda Gehrke's total of 2,198.

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Cass Lake-Bena senior Taryn Frazer drives toward the hoop during a game against West Central Area on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, in Barrett, Minn.
Sam Stuve / Forum News Service
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BARRETT, Minn. -- Taryn Frazer is a name that will never be forgotten in Cass Lake-Bena lore.

And now her name is officially etched in the record books as the all-time leading scorer in CLB girls basketball history. Frazer reached the milestone with 16 points in Saturday’s thrilling 70-69 win over West Central Area in Barrett.

Frazer, a senior guard, had 2,194 career points coming into Saturday’s tilt and needed just five points to surpass Amanda Gehrke on the all-time list.

Frazer tied Gehrke’s total of 2,198 on a pair of layups in the first 10 minutes of the game. With a little over five minutes left in the first half, Frazer found herself at the free-throw line with the chance to take sole possession of the record.

Her first free throw rattled out, but the second rolled in to give her the record and put the Panthers up 28-27.

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“It just felt so nice after all the years of putting all that work to finally beat the record,” Frazer said.

The officials paused play to let teammates and coaches congratulate Frazer, and she took the game ball up into the stands to give it to her family.

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Cass Lake-Bena senior Taryn Frazer (2) celebrates with her family in the stands after becoming the program's all-time leading scorer during a game against West Central Area on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, in Barrett, Minn.
Sam Stuve / Forum News Service

“It means everything pretty much,” she said. “I’ve been playing since as long as I can remember.”

Basketball is deeply embedded in Native American culture, and Frazer sees young people locally becoming more interested in a sport that also serves as a positive outlet.

“On the (reservation), it’s an outlet for a lot of kids,” she said. “That’s why we have so many good hoopers coming up on the rez.”

Frazer now has 2,110 career points. The only player in Cass Lake-Bena history who has more is Martin Wind -- Frazer’s current head coach -- who scored 2,622 points for the boys program.

“When I first came here, I knew I had a special player in Taryn,” said Wind, who’s in his third season as the girls coach. “She’s worked hard, she’s a big part of our team, our offense, and it’s awesome that I got to see her break the record.”

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Cass Lake-Bena head coach Martin Wind chats with an official during a game against West Central Area on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, in Barrett, Minn.
Sam Stuve / Forum News Service

Frazer has been on varsity since seventh grade and reached the 1,000-point mark during her freshman season. She surpassed the 2,000-point milestone in December .

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“She’s just come to be an all-around leader,” Wind said of Frazer’s growth. “I call her a coach on the court. She’s lived up to it, embraces her role and does awesome at it.”

Following Frazer’s milestone moment, however, the momentum changed. The Knights (8-3) outscored the Panthers 17-5 in the final five minutes and held a 44-33 lead at halftime.

CLB (10-1) kept clawing back in the second half, but West Central Area responded by extending its lead upwards of 13 points.

But Cass Lake-Bena kept fighting, and eventually that work paid off.

The Panthers found themselves down two, 67-65, with two minutes to go and possession of the ball. After two missed shots and two offensive rebounds, the ball found its way into the hands of Frazer.

From the top of the key, Frazer launched a 3-pointer that scorched the net and gave the Panthers a 68-67 lead -- one they never relinquished.

“I just saw that (the defender) didn’t have a hand up, and I just knew that it was my time to make the difference in the game,” Frazer said.

With the ability to light up the scoreboard, Frazer has been the focal point of the opposing defense. Saturday’s game at WCA was no different.

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“She can do it all,” West Central Area head coach Eric Schoenbauer said. “Somebody that’s going to break a school record doesn’t usually have one golden rule or only one element of their game.”

The Knights had the chance to beat the Panthers, owning possession of the ball down one with 16.4 seconds left. But two missed threes and a blocked shot down low prevented WCA from prevailing.

While Frazer broke the program record Saturday, she was only the third leading scorer for the Panthers on the afternoon. Seniors Amira LaDuke and Krisayln Seeyle both finished with a team-high 21 points.

On the West Central Area side, senior Lexi Bright, who recently became the school’s first player to ever break the 2,000-point plateau, put up a game-high 22 points.

Cass Lake-Bena 70, West Central Area 69

CLB 33 37 -- 70

WCA 44 25 -- 69

CASS LAKE-BENA (10-1) -- LaDuke 21, Seeyle 21, Frazer 16, Fineday 8, Reyes 3, LaRose 1.

WEST CENTRAL AREA (8-3) -- Bright 22, Stark 14, Grosz 14, Hansen 12, Foslien 5, Styba 2.

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