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Johnson leading high flying Cardinals girls hoops

Through 12 games, the Cardinals have outscored their opponents by 250 points.

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Carrington's Madison Johnson brings the ball into play during the Stutsman County Girls Basketball Tournament on Dec. 9, 2022, at the Jamestown Civic Center.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun
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CARRINGTON, N.D. — Madison Johnson is one of only five upperclassmen on the Carrington Cardinals roster and has helped her team get off to a fast start to the season.

“She brings effort every night, every practice, every game,” Cardinals head coach Andy Braaten said. “She’s got a high basketball IQ that reads the ball really well, looks for her teammates and looks to score and has rebounded really well as of late too. So, she gives us a lot of good things.”

The Cardinals started the season 10-0 and got as high as No. 5 in the NDAPSSA Class B poll. Through 12 games, Johnson is averaging 12.5 points per game, while shooting 37% from the field and adding 2 assists and 2.6 steals per game.

“To play at a good level we have to work together and we have been doing that,” Johnson said. “We need to mesh on offense and on defense and talk a lot when we’re playing and rely on our teammates and have trust in everyone.”

Johnson said her best skill is her passing and that she needs to continue to work on her shooting. Braaten said Johnson has grown in her ability to drive to the basket and finish through contact. He said she needs to continue to work on improving on her defense.

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"She's developed to be our leader out front as far as the point guard position," Braaten said. "But she also looks to score so it's a dual threat out there of getting people involved plus looking at the basketball, so that's on the offensive end. The defensive end, she's stepped up to a few challenges of guarding some good players and she's really improved on the defensive end. She's looked to improve there and like I said, she reads the ball well there and anticipates nicely."

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Due to inclement weather, Jamestown High School basketball and hockey games scheduled for Jan. 26 have been postponed.

On Dec. 10, Johnson and the Cardinals won the Stusman County Tournament for the first time since 2019. In the Cardinals' 71-57 Stutsman County Championship game win, Johnson had 16 points.

“It meant a lot,” Johnson said. “It set us up for a good season in the beginning and it set us up for success.”

Johnson said her favorite part about playing basketball is the time spent with her teammates.

This year, Johnson is one of five upperclassmen on the roster and one of three juniors on the squad.

“I’d say, I’m one of the leaders on my team,” Johnson said. “I feel like I help them in ways they need. They also help me in a lot of ways. So, we all work together. I’m a leader by example and by voice because you need a little bit of both ”

Johnson has played for the Cardinals since her freshman year and during her sophomore year, she averaged 6.5 points per game and 3.2 rebounds per game. Johnson credits her growth to her increased strength which helps her and her teammates handle the physical teams that they have to face in the region.

“As a freshman, she developed a good outside shot and now through the next couple years, she’s looked to drive a bit more and she’s put in a lot of miles on the track where we’re pretty comfortable with her endurance,” Braaten said. “She can play a lot of minutes for us and that’s been a big plus for us this year.”

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Through the Cardinals' first 12 games of the season, they have outscored their opponents 659-409.

“Our offense needs some work meshing together but our defense is holding us in games and our defense is what’s really great right now,” Johnson said. “We need to keep that up.”

Johnson and the Cardinals are back in action at 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21, when they take on Rugby.

“Our goal would probably be to make it to state because that would be awesome,” Johnson said. “Just grow as a team and grow individually too so we can flourish and become one of the best teams and take our loss from Central Cass and turn it into what we need to work on. We hopefully will get better at things and better at everything that we need to improve on."

Hello,
My name is Max O'Neill. I am a Sports Reporter at The Jamestown Sun. I am a native New Yorker, who graduated from Ithaca College in 2020 with a degree in Television-Radio.
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