King of the Court: Ellsworth's Cody Schilling sets new Minnesota all-time scoring record
MINNEAPOLIS -- And then there was one.
With 36 seconds remaining in Thursday's Class A boys' state basketball game at Mariucci Arena, Ellsworth's Cody Schilling hit the shot of a lifetime on the state's biggest stage.
Schilling and the Panthers were already assured of advancing to today's semifinal game, but the shot gave the senior Minnesota's all-time scoring record with 3,367 points, surpassing Braham's Isaiah Dahlmann's record by a point.
"To get the record, I got it on the baseline and hit a fade away jumper, and it felt good after it left," Schilling said. "It felt like a thousand pounds off my back after it went in. It's nice that I got it over with, now we don't have to carry it into tomorrow. Now we can just worry about going after a state championship."
Schilling entered the game needing 22 points to tie the record, and one more to be alone at the top of the list. With nine points at half, and 15 points with five minutes remaining, Schilling needed every minute of Thursday's game to break the record.
"Coach (Okeson) just said get it done this game, and get it out of the way for the Target Center," Schilling said. "Today, my teammates wanted me to get it. Right away in the game my shot wasn't falling, and I kept passing. At halftime, they said go for it. So I started picking up the scoring in the second half, and I started hitting some shots."
Schilling was 4-of-11 from the field in the first half and finished 11-of-24 for the game - well below his 65 percent average this season.
"I was trying not to think about it, so I can't blame that," Schilling said of the poor shooting performance. "I know everyone was sitting and waiting for it to happen, and I wanted it to happen. There will be better shooting days, and hopefully tomorrow, we'll come out and put on another show and get a 'W' to move on to the state championship."
But for the senior who is hoping to make one last run for Class A supremacy, the fact that the Panthers pulled out a 59-41 victory over Granada-Huntley-East Chain was more important than the record.
"If I would have gotten the record today and we would have lost, the record would have been nice, but the loss would have ended my career," Schilling said. "I want to end on top, and that's what the other seniors want. Like I told Trevor (Gruis) and Adam (Van Der Stoep), they might never get here again, so play like you're seniors. I think everyone stepped up, and Trevor stepped up and played big for us today."
Gruis scored 19 points for the Panthers and gave Schilling the pass that broke the record.
"Trevor passed it to me on the baseline, and I just hit it; it felt great," Schilling said. "It's a great accomplishment, I'm so glad it happened. All the hard work I've put in over the years has paid off, and this is pretty cool. But we came down here to get a state title, not to get a scoring record. That's what we're hopefully going to do the next two days."
While Schilling scored a game-high 23 points against the Mustangs, he also had a game-high seven assists.
"It's a great accomplishment," Okeson said. "It couldn't have happened to a better kid; he's such a team guy. Sometimes it's tough to get him to shoot."
Schilling got off to a fast start, scoring nine points in the first nine minutes. However, as the defense continued to hound him, he started passing the ball.
"I wasn't going to force it. I missed my first couple of shots and then thought I should to get my teammates involved," Schilling said. "If it happens today, it happens."
However, in the closing minutes of the game, the entire arena knew how close Schilling was.
"With about two minutes left, Coach said that you're a point away and said that we're going to get you the ball, you're going to score, and then you're going to be done because we had a 16 or 18-point lead," Schilling said.
Before the shot heard around the state, Schilling had an opportunity to tie the record by completing a 3-point play. But at the line, the 87 percent free throw shooter failed to connect, leaving him one point short with less than two minutes remaining.
"It's the only one I shot today, and I missed it," Schilling explained. "I was kind of thinking about it. Usually when I go up to the free throw line I'm not thinking about anything but making the free throw. It was kind of in my mind and I saw it on the scoreboard and our crowd got loud. I wanted to make sure it got there, and I kind of left it long."
A minute later Schilling made the shot that sent Dahlmann into second place. However, with Dahlmann on the Michigan State team that is preparing for a Sweet 16 game, it will be a while before Schilling expects to hear from the 2006 graduate.
"I haven't talked to him since this summer, but I'm sure he'll be e-mailing me or facebooking me or something," Schilling said. "I'm sure I'll talk to him somehow."
Before the game, Schilling admitted that the record did weigh on his mind.
"I tried not to think about it, but it's the state record, so obviously it's on my mind," Schilling said. "I tried to keep it in the back of my mind, but when you're out there playing you keep looking up at the scoreboard at how many you got. You try not to (think about it), but it's a big accomplishment, obviously, and the whole place erupted when I hit it. It's nice that it's over, and tomorrow it doesn't matter if I have 10 of if I have 35, we just want to get the win and the scoring record's over, so whatever happens, happens."
And while Schilling will forever be etched in the Minnesota record books, the only thing he is chasing now is a state title.
"After this year, I'll look back at it and know I had one of the best high school careers in the state of Minnesota," Schilling said. "That's cool, but right now I'm trying not to look at that. I'm trying to look at the state championship. After the season, when I look back, my name's going to be at the top of the list until somebody knocks me off. But it's cool for now."