Bailey Reardon needed seven points against Ellsworth Friday night to reach 1,000 points for her career. It took her exactly 3 minutes and 7 seconds to get them.
Reardon scored the first five points of the game, then hit a left handed layup that gave River Falls an 8-6 lead and brought the crowd in the Cat's Den to its feet.
Reardon would go on to finish with 23 points and Kylie Strop scored 25 as the Cat's posted a 73-58 victory over the Panthers. Reardon joins Karly Murphy (2013-16) and Tessa Wells (2007-10) as the only three 1,000 point scorers in program history.
Reardon said it felt great to reach her milestone in a win on her home court.
“I was really excited,” she said. “I knew going into Osceola I was 19 points away, so I just wanted to get those seven points here and get it out of the way.”
After a brief stoppage of play to acknowledge her achievement, Reardon and the Wildcats went back to work, widening their lead to 19-9 on a bucket by Reardon five minutes later on their way to building a 34-23 halftime lead.
The gap grew to as many as 16 early in the second half before Ellsworth pulled to within seven, 58-51, with 3:50 remaining. But a drive by Abby Doerre and a steal by Strop that led to a layup by Taylor Weick made it a 64-51 game. Ellsworth's Kaitlyn Nugent hit a three to cut the gap to 10, but Weick answered with a three and Reardon hit a layup and blocked two shots in the final 1:30 to preserve the Cat's double-digit lead the rest of the way.
“We knew going into the game that it was going to be a tough match,” Reardon said. “(Coach Ian Stitch) told us we shouldn't play down to their level and keep up our lead and come out in the second half really strong. We just wanted to keep the lead.”
Weick and Doerre contributed 10 points each in the win and Faith Mader had five. Nugent led Ellsworth with 28 points.
The Wildcats, now 7-7 overall, 2-4 in Big Rivers Conference play, return to conference action at home against Eau Claire North Friday, Jan. 25.