‘A big accomplishment’: 1,000 points and counting for East Ridge senior Jamie Swanson
Jamie Swanson may like to shy away from the limelight, but when you do the things she has, it’s hard not to garner attention.
“I’m really excited about it,” Swanson said. “It was a big accomplishment for me. I can’t thank my teammates, from my freshman year until now, any more.”
When Glen Wurm started the East Ridge girls basketball program five years ago, he didn’t think he’d have a 1,000 point scorer already — but he’ll take it.
“The more, the merrier for sure,” Wurm said. “It’s just a wonderful accomplishment for her. I know the effort she has put in over these four years to make it a reality. It’s a pretty special thing for her and our program.”
Even as a freshman Swanson led East Ridge in scoring, putting up 9.6 points per game during the 2010-11 season. Since then, she has grown into the face of East Ridge girls basketball.
“For her to come in and really solidify who we are as a team, if not a program, has been huge,” Wurm said. “Knowing she is someone we can count on every single night — her consistency in all facets of the game — I couldn’t ask for more.”
Wurm said Swanson is “a very selfless leader.”“She’s not one who is really considered about individual accolades or accomplishments,” Wurm said. “She’s a pretty humble kid and just wants to do what’s best for the team. If that’s scoring 1,000 points, then that’s what she’ll do. I couldn’t ask for more from a student-athlete to lead our program the way she has the past four years.”
Swanson’s milestone point came on a free throw in front of a number of East Ridge fans who made the trip to Apple Valley for the occasion. She said she was just happy the team delivered a victory for them.
“A lot of my family and friends came to the game,” Swanson said. “They were cheering me on a lot. It was a lot of fun. I’m glad we got the win.”
Swanson said she hadn’t thought about the 1,000-point milestone until recently.
“I didn’t really think about it too much until coach told me how many points away I was and my parents starting to plan things,” Swanson said. “It kind of started to be a big deal. It’s kind of a relief to get it and move on now.”
Wurm said he’s even more impressed by Swanson’s accomplishment, because teams have constantly focused on stopping her over the past four years.
“I know those puts were hard to come by, because of some of the challenges we’ve had starting and building a program,” he said. “She’s shouldered a lot of that. It’s tremendous to have her be the first one to do that.”
Swanson is averaging a team-high 18.8 points per game this season after scoring 16.5 points per game last year.
Wurm said Swanson’s shooting ability is her strength.
“She has range from all over for sure,” he said. “At 5-10, she has an ability to shoot over the top of people. Knowing she’s going to have people in her face all the time, she still can pull the trigger and knock down shots. That’s something she’s come to learn, particularly in the last couple of years.”
Wurm said Swanson’s “pre-shot footwork is exceptional.”
“Her ability to catch and shoot over people is what makes her really special,” he said. “With her height, the defender can be there, but she can still go up and get a good look still.”
Swanson started playing basketball in third grade for the Woodbury Athletic Association in-house program. After immediately making a mark for East Ridge she was named a captain as a junior.
“I knew I could shoot, but I never thought I’d make such an impact on a varsity team,” Swanson said.
Swanson scores a lot, but isn’t a one-dimensional player, according to her coach.
“Something that goes unnoticed with Jamie is her ability to rebound,” Wurm said. “She brings in a lot of rebounds for us. Her defense has certainly improved, too. She covers a variety of players.”
Swanson said she’s worked hard on that part of her game.
“The main thing for me has been my defense,” she said. “I was kind of the tall, slow kid freshman year, but I got stronger and the coaches helped me out a lot with my defense.”
Swanson said she has spent a lot of time in the gym and she’s happy her hard work is paying off. She said she knows she couldn’t have accomplished what she has without the effort.
“I think you should find something you like to do, stick with it and work as hard as you can,” Swanson said. “If that’s basketball or any sport, your hard work will pay off.”