Ella Falk's senior basketball season 'was amazing'
Ella Falk was selected as an all-state player Tuesday.
JAMESTOWN — Some kids dream about summertime and their birthdays but from the time she was in third grade, Ella Falk was preoccupied with a different kind of dream.
"Our senior group had been dreaming about our senior year since travel basketball started in third grade," Falk said. "For me, being able to live in that dream together was amazing."
Falk and the Blue Jays wrapped up the 2022-23 hoops season at the West Region Tournament the first weekend in March but the culmination of her career spent with the Jays came on Tuesday. Falk was named to the 2023 Class A Girls Basketball All-State Second Team.
She is the third Blue Jay in three years to earn all-state honors. Grace Hegerle picked up second-team honors in the spring of 2021 while Annie Nabwe earned a first-team nomination last year.
"Receiving this award means a lot to me, it's all the years of hard work and time that I put in paying off," Falk said. "If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing you won’t have that extra motivation to go get the work in. That hard work always pays off."
Coming into the season, Falk knew she would have to expand her role as a starter as Nabwe and Hegerle had been the Jays' top-two scorers the last couple of seasons.
"From last year to this year the thing I focused on the most to improve on is scoring," Falk said. "Annie was the leading scorer for our team last year and after she graduated I felt I needed to step up and step into the role she had to help the team."
Falk ended her senior year with a whopping 419 points, 147 more than anyone else on her team. The senior averaged 17.5 points per game and set a new school record for the most points scored in a single game with 41. Falk also eclipsed the 1,000-point mark after playing only four games this season.
It's no wonder why the Blue Jays were +244 when the senior was on the floor.
Falk was 87.5% from the stripe and hit 39.7% of her shots from beyond the arc. She led the team from the floor, shooting 54.1%. Falk now holds the JHS record for the most 3-pointers made in a game with nine.
"Ella had a great year and is very deserving of the award," JHS head coach Andy Skunberg said. "She has been a leader for us on and off the court these past few years."
The senior was the team's second-leading rebounder with 191 nabbed and the Blue Jays' assist leader with 92 dished out to her teammates. While she only measures 5-foot-8, Falk led the team in blocks with 13. She second-highest total when it came to steals (28) and only had 31 fouls called on her — the lowest of any Blue Jay starter.
"Every year the program loses great athletes to graduation and being able to adjust is a big thing in many sports," Falk said. "It’s just a matter of having kids willing to step into the role that a senior had last year and this past year everyone was willing to work hard and step into those important roles.
"The team's dedication, work ethic, and love for the game were evident throughout the season," she said. "It created a great example for the younger classes to try to replicate."
Falk has been with the Jays since her eighth grade season. She led the WDA in total assists for four straight seasons and did her part to get the Jays to three of the last four WDA tournaments. Falk also was a part of the Jays' first state tournament team since 2014. The Jays qualified for State back in 2021.
In short, it has been a dream of a season and a career for the Blue Jay standout.
"My friends, family, and teammates have always been the most vital part in all aspects of my life including basketball," Falk said. "Without their support, motivation, and help with so many different things a lot of these things wouldn’t have been possible for me."
2023 Class A Girls Basketball All-State Team
Bergan Kinnebrew, Bismarck Century
Logan Nissley, Bismarck Century
Miriley Simon, West Fargo
Jocelyn Schiller, Grand Forks Red River
Leelee Bell, Minot
Ella Falk, Jamestown
Maggie Fricke, Minot
Ashton Safranski, Fargo Davies
Brenna Dick, West Fargo Sheyenne
Chloe Pfau, West Fargo
Brooklyn Felchle, Bismarck Legacy
Amya Gourneau, Turtle Mountain
Scout Woods, Wahpeton