Kallberg joins 1,000-point club

Ely girls set to host Sixth Annual Hoops for Hope Holiday Tourney

by Tom Coombe
Brielle Kallberg hit a milestone on Monday, and this week she and her teammates will take their next steps toward another one.
The Ely senior scored her 1,000th career point during the high school girls basketball team’s 72-50 home victory over Chisholm.
It was the final home game for the Wolves before this week’s Hoops for Hope Holiday Tournament.
Now in its sixth year, the fundraiser for the Spiritwood Foundation has generated well in excess of $15,000 and a successful tournament will bring the Ely program close to the $20,000 mark.
Ely Head Coach Darren Visser started Hoops for Hope in 2014, in part to incorporate community service as part of the program.
“The Hoops For Hope Tournament has helped our teams to see that they can have a positive impact on their community,” said Visser. “The community gives so much to our kids and this is a way to give back.”
Going into a Friday night game at Two Harbors, the Wolves are off to a 5-1 start and Kallberg - a fifth-year starter - has played an integral role.
The 5-11 forward has teamed with fellow senior Erika Mattson, also a 1,000-point scorer, to give the Wolves one of the most potent scoring combinations in Section 7A.
With Mattson in foul trouble for much of the first half, Kallberg picked up the slack and sparked Ely to a double-digit halftime deficit, with the Wolves going on a late run after Chisholm tied the game at 24.
Kallberg had 13 points in the first half, while a free throw and a drive to the basket early in the second stanza brought her to 1,000.
The game was stopped briefly, with Kallberg getting congratulations from teammates, members of Ely’s elementary and C-squad teams and her parents.
She kept right on scoring finishing with a game-high 30 for the night.
“The game against Chisholm was a milestone for Brielle as she needed 16 points to get to 1000 and ended up with 30,” said Visser. “It was nice for Brielle to get to the 1000 point mark at home in front of the home crowd.”
Kallberg added seven rebounds and four steals while shooting 13-for-23 from the floor, while Mattson added 12 points and four steals and freshman Madeline Perry hit double digits with 12 points.
Underneath, Ely got plenty of support form senior Winter Sainio and ninth-grader Rachel Coughlin, who combined to snare 21 rebounds. Coughlin added 10 points to notch her first career double-double.
“The first half we struggled some with Chisholm’s aggressive defense,” said Visser. “In the second half we were able to make some offensive adjustments that allowed us to pull away.”
The Wolves are favored in an expanded Hoops for Hope tourney, which has grown from four to six teams this sesason.
Action starts Thursday with Carlton taking on Northeast Range at 4 p.m., followed by South Ridge and Deer River at 5;30, and the Wolves taking on Wrenshall at 7 p.m.
Three more games are on the docket Friday afternoon, with Ely hosting Deer River at 4 p.m.to close out the tournament.
“This year is the biggest tournament we have had with six teams,” said Visser. “Adding Deer River and South Ridge adds a couple of teams who have traditionally been strong teams that are well coached.
Hoops for Hope was started to help raise awareness about Alzheimer’s Disease, and all proceeds from sponsorships and tournament-specific fundraisers go to the locally-based Spiritwood Foundation.
“The money goes directly back to our community to help families dealing with this terrible disease,” said Visser.
Those interested in sponsoring can still do so by either sending a check to Karla Visser (PO Box 315 Ely, MN 55731), with checks payable to ISD 696. Donations will also be collected at the tournament games.