Wrenshall's Mattson is 62-point phenom
Entering the Monday, Feb. 26, road game with Duluth Marshall, Nick Mattson of Wrenshall needed 49 points to pick up his 1,000th career point. In an incredible display of 3-point shooting, Mattson not only picked up what he needed, but he obliterated the local record books when he lit up the scoreboard for 17 3-point shots and 62 points as the Wrens ran away with a 116-83 win over the Hilltoppers.
"We talked about how many points he needed before we left for the game," Wrens coach Jon Bartzak said. "Nick said he was not going to try for it and he told his parents not to bring their 1,000-point sign. I assumed he was looking at going for it on our last night at home against Isle.
"When I asked him after, he said he knew he was going for it after his second make of the night," Bartzak said.
Mattson's numbers made four records: No. 2 all-time in Minnesota in 3-point shots in a game with 17; No. 2 all-time in attempted 3s with 27; No. 9 all-time in single game scoring with 62 points; and is tied for a No. 5 ranking on the National Federation of High School list for most made 3s in a game.
More drama was added to the evening when Mattson battled stomach issues prior and during the game.
"I actually felt terrible before the game," Mattson said. "I had a stomach ache and I threw up a couple of times in the game. I told my coach and parents I was probably not going to score my thousand against Marshall."
Oh, how things changed once tipoff occurred. The third-year captain got into the game early and started hitting long-range bombs at an astonishing rate as the Hilltoppers turned their defensive attention to stopping Tyler Kelley and Eli Krisak.
"The whole night started with Nick hitting on a couple of wide-open looks," Bartzak said. "Their team came out with a strategy of locking down Tyler Kelley and Eli Krisak, which is a little different than most teams. Mostly Tyler and Nick draw the No. 1 and No. 2 defenders. Their coach kept saying they would let him (Nick) shoot and not to come out and guard him."
That strategy backfired big time on Marshall as Mattson just kept draining shots from everywhere. Finally, Marshall was forced to come out and guard him, but even then he stayed hot as he created his own room to make shots from beyond the arc.
"Once he hit about 12 of the 3s, they started playing him tight, but he's got a pretty good jab step and that created enough space to get him a nice look," Bartzak said. "After he had hit 10, I could tell he was taking over and in the timeouts, I didn't even say to feed him — I just told everyone to just focus on getting the best look at the basket."
Wrenshall would need all the looks they could get. Marshall trailed by just 53-43 at halftime, led by the duo of Samuel Lohn and Ben Landherr, who finished with 32 and 29 points, respectively.
Even though the Wrens first half was incredible on offense, the second half was even better as they put up 63 points, much of it due to the night Mattson was having.
"At halftime, I realized I could score my 1,000th point and my teammates just got me the ball," Mattson said. "There was no game plan for me to score my 1,000th and I didn't force it, either. It all just happened the way it would in my dreams. I was in a zone where I knew that I couldn't be guarded."
While Mattson was reaching unknown heights, the Wrens were getting solid nights on offense from Krisak with 17 points and Randy Wimmer with 14. Also scoring for Wrenshall were Tyler Kelley with nine, Dan Merrill had six, Jared Kelley finished with four and Grant Hall and Chase Duncan each recorded two.
As of press time, the Wrens were 23-2 on the season and picked up the No. 1 seed in the Section 7A tournament. Wrenshall was scheduled to open the tournament Wednesday, March 7, against the No. 8 seed, South Ridge, which beat Hill City 62-32 in a play-in game Monday, March 5.
Mattson's 4 records
All-time in Minnesota — made 3-pointers in a game (17)
All-time in Minnesota — attempted 3-pointers (27)
All-time in Minnesota — single-game scoring (62 points)
No. 5 (tied)
National Federation of High School ranking — most made 3-pointers in a game