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LaFord reaches 1,000 points in win over BR-H

Austin Hemmingson | Daily Press Carney-Nadeau’s Brett LaFord reached 1,000 career points during Tuesday’s 62-56 win over Bark River-Harris. Pictured from left are Sandra Boulton, LaFord, Giselle Laurila, Zoey Poupore and Maelynn DeBacker.

HARRIS — Brett LaFord took a dribble, a deep breath, and sank his free throw. After countless hours in the gym and putting up shots summer after summer, Carney-Nadeau’s senior point guard finally felt all his hard work starting to pay off when he hit the 1,000-point mark during Tuesday’s 62-56 road win over Bark River-Harris.

Needing 17 points to reach the milestone, it took LaFord until there was just a little under two minutes left in the game to reach that mark with a pair of free throws. Play was stopped as he got an ovation from the crowd, a hug with coach Paul Polfus, and an embrace with his teammates and players on the opposing side.

Asked what it took to reach the mark, he had a pretty simple response.

“Lots of shots. Lots of shots have been put up by this guy,” he said with a look of relief on his face. “I want to thank my coaches over the years — coach Jake Polfus, Paul Polfus … just thank you to them. I wouldn’t be able to do it without them or my teammates.”

It was a fitting game and atmoshpere for LaFord to reach the mark. His entire family and fellow students were there to watch him, and he was playing in a rivalry game against a conference opponent.

Part of what makes him great is his competitiveness and the edge he plays with at all times. Fittingly so, he was more focused on the game and getting the win than his individual accomplishment. His free throws with 1:48 left put the Wolves up 58-52 and helped seal the game after the Broncos had just pulled to within one 30 seconds earlier.

“Everyone at school was bugging me about it,” he admitted. “I was like, ‘Just leave me alone. I just want to win the game.’ It was a big game for us.”

LaFord played the way he always does — with high energy and a chip on his shoulder. There was normal trash talk throughout the game, which he admitted made getting the accomplishment on a rival’s court in a winning effort that much sweeter.

“(It feels) very good,” he said. “They were talking to me — their fans, their student section… I just blocked them out. They’re competitors. I can’t be mad at them for that.”

Paul Polfus has been his varsity coach this season and also coached him briefly on the JV team. Jake Polfus — Paul’s son — was his varsity coach for two seasons before stepping down at the end of last season.

“The thing I always think about with him is he always plays with an edge,” Paul said. “He’s got a chip on his shoulder, and he plays hard up and down the floor for 32 minutes. He may not always make the best decisions, but that’s his speed that he plays at and he makes a lot more good decisions than not. He’s a very coachable kid, he listens well, he’s definitely into the game and he’s very focused when he gets out there.”

BR-H coach Marc Zawacki offered his two cents on LaFord.

“I’ve watched him from JV on up there, and he just has a motor that doesn’t quit,” Zawacki said. “He gets a lot of hustle points, but he’s a skilled, talented player. It’s nice to see a young athlete like that get to 1,000 points. That’s kind of a milestone for his career, so hats off to him.”

Polfus was also appreciative of what Bark River did to honor him.

“Bark River was kind enough to show their support there,” he said. “I know it was definitely in the back of his mind with everyone here. It’s pretty cool

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