Blue Jay basketball has been 'unforgettable' for Ella Falk
Ella Falk, a five-year starter for the Jamestown High School girls basketball team, recently hit the 1,000 point mark.
JAMESTOWN — Ella Falk's unforgettable basketball career all started with an unforgettable game in early December 2018.
"I remember pretty much everything about that first game," Falk said. "We were playing St. Mary’s at home and I was more nervous than I’ve ever been for anything. I believe my first-ever shot attempt was blocked so that was pretty memorable. Overall that day was pretty unforgettable."
The Blue Jays wound up winning Falk's first career start 53-47.
Since the Jays' six-point win over St. Mary's, Falk has played more than 100 games for the Blue Jays. The senior has been responsible for scoring more than 1,000 points for the Jays — a record she just hit 10 days ago.
"It was the feeling of gratitude that was the most overwhelming," Falk said of scoring her 1,000th point. "I was grateful for all of the people that had helped me reach that milestone by pushing me to work hard since the first day of third grade basketball."
Falk has been playing basketball competitively since she was in third grade but due to her parent's influence, she's had a ball in her hand since age 5 or 6.
JHS head coach Andy Skunberg named Falk to the varsity roster as an eighth grader.
"I would say my main goal going into my first year was to always be learning," Falk said. "I wanted to work hard and learn from every practice and every game because learning from experience is a great thing for any player in all sports. I was able to come away from every game and most practices with a new experience that I could learn from."
As an eighth grader, Falk was responsible for scoring 176 total points for an average of eight points per game. She was responsible for 58 assists, 27 steals, three blocks and forcing 62 turnovers.
She upped her point totals by 45 the next year, tallying 221 total points. As a freshman, Falk nabbed a total of 127 rebounds and dished out 98 assists. She forced 86 turnovers and made seven blocks. She was credited with 32 steals.
Her third year on the roster, Falk's average jumped to 10.7 points per game to total 257 points on the year. She nabbed 156 boards and was one of the team's best 3-point shooters, going 31% from beyond the arc. Her assist total surpassed the 100-mark for the first time in her career while she was credited with 10 blocks. Her sophomore season was the first time the Jays made it to the state tournament since 2013.
As a junior, Falk played a team-high 609 minutes and scored 242 points. She was the second-leading 3-point shooter with 39. Her stat line read 131 rebounds and eclipsed the rest of the Blue Jay roster in terms of assists. Falk dished out 106 total.
It's not just Falk who has gotten better.
"Since my first year, the program has gotten increasingly better," Falk said. "Our entire team puts in work during the offseason to help grow the program. As a team, we do our team camps and open gyms throughout the summer.
"Our state tournament appearance my sophomore year is a good example of the growth from my eighth grade and ninth grade seasons when we didn’t appear at the state tournament," she said. "Every year our season goals grow larger as we build off every year."
So far this season, Falk is averaging 20 points a game. The senior has netted 100 of the team's 279 total points. She's 8-for-9 from the stripe and is 32% from 3-point range. She has accumulated 13 assists through the Jays' five games.
Falk hit her 1,000 points on Dec. 27 in a road tilt against Turtle Mountain. The senior scored a season-high of 31 points in the team's 92-62 win over the Braves.
Falk was officially honored for hitting the 1,000-point mark and setting a new JHS assist record on Jan. 6 before the Jays' tipped off against Williston.
"The 1,000-point milestone is a goal I think most players strive for," Falk said. "For me, when I first started I wanted to strive for the goal of scoring more points than both of my parents did in their high school careers. I have surpassed my dad but I don’t think there is much hope of catching my mom."
Falk's mom, Kara, scored 1,950 points during her time at Pingree-Buchanan-Kensal.
But in reality, it's never been about the points for the Jamestown star.
"To me, the best part of every year that I’ve been a part of has been the people," Falk said. "I am extremely grateful for all of the teammates I’ve had throughout my five years in the program. During my first year, everyone was so wonderful and welcoming to me. I’m so grateful they all allowed the little eighth grader to always be a part of it all."