Going into Tuesday's game against St. Francis Indian, Pine Ridge boys basketball point guard Halin Bad Bear needed 39 points to get to 1,000 for his career.

He would reach that mark by the third quarter, and wouldn't stop there.

Bad Bear scored 51 points as the Thorpes stormed by the Warriors 92-64 to move to 11-3 on the season.

Later in the week Pine Ridge would top Crow Creek 78-39 to move to 12-3.

"He was really efficient, he didn’t take a lot of shots, his percentage was up. He was getting to the basket so he was scoring off the free throw line too. Everything was dropping," Pine Ridge coach Casey Means said. "All of his teammates wanted to get him the ball, they’re all unselfish, they were all smiling and hugging him when he got it. It was a team thing, and that’s what I was proud of."

Bad Bear said it didn't matter to him that he got to the 1,000-mark Tuesday, but he felt good from warmups on.

He scored 18 points in the first quarter, and when he got to 32 by halftime, he knew the night was about to become a special one.

"I just went out to play my game. I just continued to do that and going into halftime I had 32 so I figured I’d go after it," he said. "I don’t think about it because it’s not a team accomplishment. My teammates saw my shot falling at halftime and they kept feeding me the ball, setting screens and opening me up, just wanting me to go after it and giving me the green light."

A lot of times, it's Bad Bear that gives his teammates the green light. Means said he is like another coach on the court at the point guard position. 

The Thorpes don't lack scorers, but what's made the season work is that no one player is that concerned with their own stats. Bad Bear even said he hasn't thought much about his point-total because it is an individual accomplishment, not a team one.

"Not only is he a scorer, but he’s the point guard so he makes sure we’re running the offense and getting everyone into position," Means said. "He's a sound leader. He’s one of the players that sees the play before it happens."

That leadership has extended off the court, where it seems all of the Thorpes are concerned not only with their 12-3 record, but also making sure they make a positive impact in their community.

"They gave me the leadership role early in the season, so I accepted that role and I wanted us to be better not just one the court but off the court as well," he said.

"Get our grades up, be better role models, that’s what I wanted to get out of it. I think it’s really important for us to do it, because we have so much of the younger generation looking up to us. We want to change the culture here for the younger ones so they can have it better when they get older."

One thing the entire group hopes that younger generation can talk about is a state title.

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Neither Means or Bad Bear were shy about what their goals are for the end of the season, and it involves being in Sioux Falls in March.

"We have practices with a lot of intensity, everyone is into it. Everyone brings their best every game and that’s what you want, to have everyone on one page and together," Bad Bear said. "We all know what we want at the end of the year."

"I’m thankful just to be a part of it, because he’s been playing his whole life and this is the first year I’ve really coached him," Means said of Bad Bear. "I’m thankful to be on the ride with him and hopefully it ends with a banner."

Pine Ridge takes on Bennett County tonight at home at 6 p.m. 

Honorable mention

Editor's note: An athlete who has been previously selected as Athlete of the Week can't be picked more than once in the same season.

Alejandro Rama, Red Cloud boys' basketballRama had one of the biggest scoring nights in recent memory in a 82-72 win over St. Francis Indian Friday.

Rama scored 60 points in the win for the 12-3 Crusaders.

Shay Trimble, Rapid City Stevens gymnastics: Trimble took home the all-around title at the East/West State Qualifier in Sioux Falls over the weekend.

She won the floor exercise (9.600), the vault (8.850) and bars (9.475) and scored 36.700 in the all-around for the win.

Caden Casey, St. Thomas More boys' basketball: Casey led STM by Harrisburg 67-55 at the Sanford Pentagon Classic in Sioux Falls Saturday.

He scored 28 points to move the Cavaliers to 12-1 on the season.

Rob Lester, Lead-Deadwood wrestling: Lester improved to 29-2 on the season with a first place finish in the 285-pound division at the Black Hills Classic in Hill City over the weekend.

Lester topped Belle Fourche's Michael Streeter with a fall 34 seconds into the match.

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Contact Geoff Preston at geoffrey.preston@rapidcityjournal.com

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