Teagan Erbele working hard to get 1K rebounds for Imperials

Erbele is trying to continue a long family legacy of basketball success.

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Teagan Erbele is a key player for the Napoleon/Gackle-Streeter Imperials.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

NAPOLEON, N.D. — Growing up on a farm playing basketball with her brother, father and three uncles, Napoleon/Gackle-Streeter’s Teagan Erbele was forced to fight for everything and that work ethic has translated on the floor.

“Growing up, I always played basketball with them and they definitely didn’t go easy on me,” Erbele said. “So if I wanted to score, I wanted to get a rebound, I had to give all the effort I had and always had to work my hardest. So, I think that instilled a drive in me, if I wanted to be able to compete with them I had to give 100%.”

This season, Erbele is averaging 18.4 points per game while shooting 45% from the field, 12.8 rebounds per game and 2.8 steals per game. As a team, the Imperials are 10-7 and are third in District 6. Imperials head coach Caleb Ketterling said Erbele is one of the most important players for his team.

“She’s our best scorer, our best rebounder, she passes well, she can play inside out,” Ketterling said. “She’s very versatile and we can use her in a whole bunch of different ways offensively. Her defense has really improved over the last year, so she’s turned into a very good post defender, she’s quick enough to handle guards. She’s an all-around good athlete and player for me."

As the Imperials prepare for their last two games of the regular season, the junior sits 28 rebounds away from 1,000 career rebounds. In the Imperials' loss to Hettinger/Scranton on Dec. 2, Erbele scored her 1,000th career point.


“I’m the first girl in my family and coming from my dad’s side has all brothers who have played basketball and a few of them have hit their 1,000th point but none of them have hit their 1,000th rebound,” Erbele said. “So, I think it would be really cool to be the first person in my family to do that.”

Erbele is not the only member of her family who will be reaching the 1,000 career rebounds mark as her older brother, Trenton, is also coming up on the milestone, sitting 33 rebounds away. Erbele said she and her brother are competing against each other to see who will hit the milestone first. Earlier this season, Trenton Erbele also scored his 1,000th point against the Night Hawks, which Teagan Erbele said would make the fact that they could grab their 1,000th rebound on the same day even more special.

“That’s a really monumental thing, you don’t see that very often, two siblings hitting it, let alone the same team a week apart,” she said. “So, I think being able to hit our 1,000th rebound would be such a cool experience.”

While Erbele has been playing for the Imperials since she was in middle school, she has only been coached by Ketterling over the last two years. During that time, Ketterling said Erbele has continued to study the game and work hard to bring her game to the next level.

“She’s a sponge, she wants to learn and improve and get better and win,” Ketterling said. “She’s very goal-oriented so like I said before, I’m the recipient of her hard work and effort and attitude and it’s fun to watch good players work hard to be great.”

Erbele said the most underrated part of her game is her ability to score the basketball. Erbele said her goals heading into the season were to score her 1,000th point and grab her 1,000th career rebound and to turn the ball over less. Erbele said her goals have changed through the season to be more team-oriented as she wants to help her team get past the first round of the regional tournament for the first time since 2015.

As Erbele looks ahead to possibly continuing her career at the collegiate level, she said she is deciding between staying with basketball or following a different path.

“I haven’t made up my decision yet if I want to or not. I’m big into (Future Farmers of America) an organization in my school,” Erbele said. “I’ve considered running for a state office in that position so if I choose to run for state FFA then I wouldn’t be able to play a sport in college. So, right now I’m debating on which one I want to pursue but I’ve definitely put a lot of thought into college and it’s something I am strongly considering.”

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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