mercedes huerta

Bethlehem Academy senior Mercedes Huerta, pictured earlier this season, scored the 1,000th point of her career in Tuesday’s 55-47 loss against Triton. (File Photo/southernminn.com)

Huerta hits 1,000

After a nine-point outing in a 44-36 loss to Kenyon-Wanamingo back on Dec. 21, Bethlehem Academy senior Mercedes Huerta brought herself to the precipice of one of the biggest individual accomplishments attainable in high school basketball.

On the doorstep of scoring her 1,000th point, however, the senior guard had to wait. Huerta was unavailable to play in the next four games for the Cardinals, pushing back an expected celebration.

In her return to the court in Tuesday night’s 55-47 loss against Triton, those celebrations commenced after Huerta’s 16-point outburst pushed her past the millennium mark. Huerta has been a varsity player since the 2017-18 season and an All-Area honoree the past two seasons, so this accomplishment is far from an introduction to her scoring capabilities.

Bethlehem Academy is hoping Huerta’s quick re-acclimation to the court continues in the next week. Friday, the Cardinals travel to take on Blooming Prairie and its talented senior guard Bobbie Bruns, who Tuesday night scored 37 points to break the program single-game scoring record.

After that comes a test next Tuesday against undefeated Hayfield, which has not allowed an opponent to score more than 40 points this season.

Atherton ascends above Bulldogs

It’s considered a basketball luxury when a team doesn’t need to run deliberate offensive sets centered around a player in order for them to get involved on the scoresheet. Waterville-Elysian-Morristown sophomore Alayna Atherton typified that luxury in Tuesday night’s 49-38 victory at Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton.

Atherton was credited with only four attempted field goals, yet she still finished with 10 points and was a constant force for the Buccaneers.

That was because on a night when WEM struggled shooting the ball with a 29% conversion rate on field goals, Atherton snatched eight offensive boards and 19 total rebounds. Shen then made the bulk of her offensive contribution at the free throw line, where the sophomore forward drained 8 of 11 attempts.

Atherton has quickly ascended into one of the more reliable scoring options for a Buccaneer team that graduated nearly all of its scoring from last year. That she’s able to imprint herself on the game without commanding regular touches in the offense allows for the offense to feature multiple players capable to pushing the score further and further upwards.

Tuesday, that meant featuring Kylie LaFrance and Claire Bohlen, who combined to make 9 of 19 field goals as the two WEM players capable of consistently converting from the field.

That’ll come in handy Friday night, when WEM welcomes NRHEG (10-3) into Waterville.

Reach Regional Sports Editor Michael Hughes at 645-1106 or follow him on Twitter @APGSoMnHughes. © Copyright 2021 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

Sports Editor for the Northfield News. Also a California native looking for tips on surviving the winter and an Indiana University grad on the quest for a good breaded pork tenderloin.

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