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Mr. 3,000

(Aaron Hagen/Daily Globe)

ELLSWORTH -- Ellsworth's Cody Schilling surveyed the defense, stepped back and hit a 3-pointer -- something he's done hundreds of times before.

"I was actually going to come off a screen, and they sent three guys to that side of the floor, and coach just yelled 'let it fly.' So, I kind of crossed over, pulled up and shot it," Schilling said. "Right after it left my hands, I knew it was good."

But this shot from the left wing wasn't like the others he's made during his career. This particular shot gave Schilling 32 points in the game, and more importantly, 3,001 for his career.

"I wanted to get it at home because I wanted to do it in front of our home crowd," Schilling said. "If it wouldn't have happened, it wouldn't have happened, but coach said I had 20 at halftime, so I felt pretty comfortable. In the second half, there was really no pressure. (Coach Okeson) said try to get it done right away, so we pushed the ball right away in the second half, and I got it done, and we got our subs some (playing time) at the end, too, so that was good."

And if it wasn't enough for Schilling and the Panthers (15-2) Saturday afternoon, they also defeated Remsen St. Mary's, 83-50 in a non-conference boys' basketball contest.

"It's pretty crazy. Four people have scored 3,000 points in their career, so it's great to be a part of this and this whole team," Ellsworth teammate Adam Van Der Stoep said. "I'm just glad it's a team that we could win against, and Cody got his 3,000th point out of the way, which is great."

Schilling is just the fourth player in Minnesota state history to eclipse the 3,000 point mark. Isaiah Dahlman (Braham Area, 2006) was the last Minnesotan to accomplish the feat.

"Anytime you can be a part of something like that, 3,000 points doesn't happen very often," Ellsworth head coach Markus Okeson said. "It couldn't have happened to a better kid. He's the ultimate team guy, and it's a good accomplishment for him."

But even with all that riding on the game, Schilling was calm, cool and collected before the game.

"Obviously, 3,000 is a big deal and stuff, but I knew it was going to happen," Schilling said. "Whether it happened today or if it happened next week, I knew it would happen. I'm glad it's over with for my teammates because obviously, they've been thinking about it. Now that it's over with, we can celebrate tonight and forget about it and go try to win another state championship."

Even as a prolific scorer, the 6-5 senior is just as concerned about his teammates and his team's success as his own.

"He makes everybody around him a lot better, and it's good for him to get something like that," Trevor Gruis said. "To get that off Cody's shoulders and keep playing as a team, we should be able to do quite a bit this year."

It is no surprise that even though Schilling finished with a game-high 32 points, he also had 10 assists.

"That's the way he is," Okeson said. "He's going to care about winning the basketball game and setting things up for his teammates than about himself, and his points will just come."

For Schilling, the RSM defense allowed his teammates open looks.

"They were sitting in a box-and-one, and if they want to leave our shooters wide open with (Adam Van Der) Stoep, (Brandon) Gruis and (Weston) DeBerg, they'll sit out there all day and shoot 3s," Schilling said. "Today, they were stroking it, and that's what we need from them. If teams are going to play zones, and box-and-ones and try to double me, my teammates need to step up, and that's what they've been doing so far this season."

Van Der Stoep finished with 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting from beyond the arc, while Trevor Gruis finished with 14 points.

While the rest of Ellsworth buzzed with anticipation, before this important game, Schilling stuck to his normal routine.

"I did the same thing. I came in and watched my brother's JV game, went home and got some dinner, came back to school real loose and relaxed," Schilling said. "When the whole town of Ellsworth is supportive and behind you, that really helps. I wanted to do it for me, I wanted to do it for my teammates, and I wanted to do it mainly for the town of Ellsworth just because of all the support they gave me through the years."

Needing 31 points for 3,000 before the game started, Schilling showed patience early. The senior guard hit a trey for his first points and later made a shot in the lane -- which gave Ellsworth a 17-2 lead early in the game.

Schilling followed with 10 of the Panthers' next 12 points, pushing the lead to 29-4, and giving Schilling 15 points in the game.

Remsen St. Mary's (6-12) was able to hold Schilling down over the next few minutes, but as intermission loomed, he made a last-minute push.

After converting on a 3-point play with 1:17 left, Schilling found himself all alone on a break away. Schilling then threw down a one-handed dunk right before half, giving Ellsworth a 51-17 lead at the break, and 20 points in the game.

"I think that was like my fourth (dunk) this year. But we have the big man in the middle, so we oop it to him all the time, so I don't get any chances. But in the break-out fast break, I can throw it down." Schilling said. "I wasn't trying anything fancy; I just wanted to get it down."

With the RSM defense focusing on Schilling, the points were scarce in the early going of the second half.

Schilling converted on a drive three minutes in and hit another shot three minutes later.

With 11:01 remaining, he converted a 3-point play, giving him 2,998 career points.

As the crowd grew with anticipation, Schilling took nearly four minutes to make the final points.

Even with a timeout just before "the shot," Okeson didn't set up anything special for Schilling.

"He had two points to go for a long time, and he was passing to his teammates. And it was like, let's get this done," Okeson said. "We've just been doing what we've been doing, and the shot went in."

With 6:49 left, the senior made the trey to set the milestone. After stopping the game, Schilling recovered the ball and went immediately to his parents.

"That's what's happened the last couple of times," Clayton Schilling, Cody's father, said. "When Curt scored his 1,000 and 2,000, and when Cody scored his 1,000 and 2,000 and 3,000, that's kind of the way they've handled it. It's been a lot of fun for us as parents. We've really been blessed."

Leading 80-35 at the time, Schilling earned himself a rest as Ellsworth went on to claim an 83-50 victory.

"We told the kids that we wanted him to earn it, which he did," RSM head coach Ken Haje said. "We played box-and-one and some trapping zone on him to make it hard on him. He's a good athlete, and he came up with his points. If he gets it against us, as long as we give our best effort, we don't mind."

While Schilling hopes to move up the career points list in the coming weeks, Ellsworth will continue its quest for a Red Rock Conference title when the Panthers travel to Westbrook-Walnut Grove Thursday.

RSM 17 33 -- 50

Ellsworth 51 32 -- 83

RSM (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Bohnenkamp 0-0-2-2, Klein 0-3-0-6, Schorg 1-0-0-3, Konopasek 0-4-2-10, Harpenau 0-0-1-1, Pick 1-1-0-5, Higgens 2-0-0-6, Schorg 0-1-0-2, Schroeder 1-0-2-5, Loutsch 0-0-3-3, Kockler 1-1-2-7. Totals 6-11-10-50.

Ellsworth (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Nolte 0-1-1-3, DeBerg 0-2-1-5, Co. Schilling 2-11-4-32, Hinrichs 0-1-0-2, Van Der Stoep 7-0-0-21, B. Gruis 1-0-0-3, T. Gruis 0-6-2-14, Buntjer 0-0-1-1, Ca. Schilling 0-1-0-2. Totals 10-22-9-83.