Southern Aroostook High School junior guard Madison Russell said she was “completely blindsided” when a third-quarter free throw during Thursday’s 69-23 Class D North semifinal win over Schenck from East Millinocket gave her 1,000 points for her career.
“I had no idea,” said Russell, who admitted that the feat has always been a goal of hers.
“It means a lot to me. And what was even more cool is that it happened here [at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor],” Russell said.
“It’s exciting. It was a very special moment, for sure. It has been on my mind for a while so it’s nice to get it off my shoulders. I’m super proud of myself but I owe a lot of credit to my teammates for getting me the ball.”
Russell will be gunning for a fourth straight Class D North regional championship and a state title berth on Saturday at 9 a.m. when she and her teammates take on Wisdom of St. Agatha at the Cross Insurance Center.
“We are so excited and proud of her,” said sophomore guard Cami Shields. “She is an amazing player. She is a great shooter, a great teammate and a great ballhandler.”
Russell finished the game with 10 points but she is much more than just a scorer as evidenced by her seven rebounds, five assists and four steals.
“She can do it all,” Shields added.
The 5-foot-8 Russell saw significant minutes as an eighth grader and the Warriors captured the state Class D title that year. She has been a prominent player the past three seasons.
“Her shooting has come a long ways,” said Southern Aroostook coach Cliff Urquhart. “She shoots the ball with confidence now. She has put in a lot of work to develop that. It wasn’t always like that. She used to rely on layups and taking the ball to the rim. Now she can score at all three levels and that’s important.”
Russell credits working out in the gym every summer and playing for the AAU team, the Maine REACT which is coached by Husson University of Bangor head coach Kissy Walker and her assistant, Lauree Gott.
“That has helped me a lot. I love playing for them and I’ve gained a lot of experience. I’ve also been able to travel and that has been really cool, as well. Last summer we went to Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania,” said Russell.
She also said playing with such good players has elevated her game.
Urquhart said that speaks to the level of dedication exhibited by Russell and her parents, Kim and Brett. Brett is the boys basketball coach at Southern Aroostook.
“That’s a lot of hours on the interstate,” Urquhart said.