The No. 8 team in Class 4A spoiled a milestone night for Royals junior guard Ellie Buzzelle.
No. 8 Maple Grove (5-0, 1-0) defeated Rogers (0-4, 0-2) 55-43 on Thursday, Jan. 28, at Rogers High School. Buzzelle scored her 1,000th point on a free-throw during the first half. Buzzelle is the third play in Rogers history to score 1,000 points since the program began in 2003-04. The Royals’ all-time leading scorer is Casey Mann, who scored 2,218 points and played for the Royals from 2006-2008. Buzzelle is third all-time in scoring with 1,005 points. She scored 8 against the Crimson.
Buzzelle said it was nice to score her 1,000th point at home but it would’ve been sweeter if the Royals won.
“My biggest goal coming into the night was trying to get that win against Maple Grove,” Buzzelle said. “Our team was 0-3 before that game. We had a huge chance to win it, but it was awesome to be at home and be surrounded by that environment.”
Buzzelle reached her milestone when she scored her third free throw of the game after drawing a foul. After her 1,000th point was secured, Buzzelle walked off the court with the game ball as fans cheered and leaped with 1,000 signs. The Rogers bench celebrated as well by jumping in the air with 1,000 signs as well as a poster of Buzzelle with a gold 1,000 along with various images during her playing career. It says, “Congratulations Ellie Buzzelle, #30 junior guard 2016-2021.”
Royals head coach Patrick Bowlin said he congratulated Buzzelle when she arrived with the game ball. Buzzelle is the third play in Rogers history to score 1,000 points since the program began in 2003-04.
“‘This is an awesome accomplishment,’” Bowlin said. “I told her, ‘We’re going to celebrate after the game.’ I said, ‘Let’s celebrate with a win.’ We came up a little short on that end of it, but her response was, ‘I just want to win tonight.’ She has a good team-first focus. That says a lot about her and her character and the kind of kid she is.”
Maple Grove carried a 32-26 lead into the second half. The Crimson outscored the Royals 23-17 in the second half. This is the first time Rogers’ has begun a season 0-4 since 2016-17.
Bowlin said it was a good high school basketball game.
“Both teams competed hard,” he said. “Both teams worked hard on the defensive end. It’s still early in the season. Offenses aren’t as quite as sharp as you would like them to be, but all in all, a super competitive game. Hats off to Maple Grove. They certainly earned the victory with a late push in the middle to end of the second half. They’re a really good team.
We’re working to reach that. We’ve been able to play Elk River and Maple Grove, who, in my opinion, are the best two teams in the conference. We got a chance to look at them early in the season and see where we need to go.”
Offensive Player of the Game: While Buzzelle reached a milestone, Crimson senior point guard Jordyn Lamker scored 19 points.
What’s Next: Rogers will host Northwest Suburban Conference foe Totino-Grace (2-3, 2-1), the team Bowlin coached last season, on Tuesday, Feb. 9, at 7 p.m. at Rogers High School. The Eagles defeated the Royals 61-60 on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020, at Totino-Grace High School in the most-recent game between the two teams.