MENNO -- There were critics and eyebrows raised when Menno girls basketball coach Doug Hall moved then-seventh-grader Morgan Edelman to the varsity team.
Those doubts didn’t last long, though. Hall can still recall playing Hanson, one of Class B’s top teams during Edelman’s seventh-grade season, and seeing Edelman go toe-to-toe with the Beavers. The hustle and fearlessness she showed that night became a staple to her career.
Edelman immediately became a key bench player, and then cracked the starting lineup as an eighth-grader. It was the start of an illustrious career that now has Hall searching for the right way to describe her brilliance.
The fact Hall raved about her work ethic and defense more than her scoring ability a day after she became the first Menno basketball player to reach 2,000 career points tells the story of her impact. Also, the fact her play silenced any doubters, which never resurfaced.
“I fought to get her on our varsity team as a seventh grader and she quieted all the critics for me,” Hall said. “I never had to prove my point. She proved it for me.”
Edelman still points to becoming Menno’s all-time leading scorer -- boys or girls -- as her most proud accomplishment, but she continued to score at a blistering pace that’s put her unequivocally ahead of everyone who has donned a Wolves jersey.
On Thursday, in her final regular season prep basketball game, Edelman became the first Menno player to reach 2,000 career points, pushing her more than 600 points ahead of Matt Fischer (1,396) and Jeanette Ulmer (1,381). She finished with 29 points in a win over Freeman Academy/Marion, giving her 2,022 career points.
The distinction as a “2,000-point scorer” is fitting with the rest of her growing resume, which also includes a two-time Class B all-state second-team member and the single-game scoring leader with 38 points in 2019 against Lake Preston.
“That’s always been a goal of mine,” Edelman said about reaching 2,000 points. “I thought it was far-fetched, but now … it means a lot to me because it’s always been a goal of mine.”
Edelman credits her teammates for passing her the ball when she gets an open look, but also knocking down their own shots to garner the defense’s attention, especially when they start to face-guard her. While Edelman has worked to become a three-level scorer, her defense often sparks her offense.
She averages 21.8 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 4.5 steals per game this year. Hall chalks it up to “having a nose for the ball,” and Edelman knows that strength helps her pad her scoring total with a couple of transition layups every game.
The hustle and work ethic she showed as a seventh-grader has only increased. When she committed to Dakota Wesleyan University, she didn’t take her foot off the pedal, rather pushed down harder.
“Her hard work is the story,” Hall said. “It’s the name of the game for her. She has flat out out-worked the competition consistently.”
Despite being a senior, Edelman has felt less pressure to score this season. Last year, Menno didn’t have a senior and little experience, forcing Edelman to create offense and score 23.1 points per contest. Now, there’s more scoring options and balance.
For all the individual accolades, Edelman hopes her final stamp on the program is making a deep postseason run. The Wolves haven’t made it out of region play in her career, and their only state tournament appearance came in 2000. At 13-6, they’re No. 2 in seed points in Region 5B behind Viborg-Hurley heading into region play on Tuesday.
It’ll be Edelman’s final chance to put one last mark on an already stunning career.
“That would mean a lot because I know a lot of us have had that goal in mind for a while,” Edelman said. “The girls basketball team hasn’t been to state since the early 2000’s, so that would be really big for our program and for our school.”