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Trinity Lutheran basketball pair set major milestones

Matt Eidler scored 2,000th career point, Elli Kent set single-game scoring record on same night

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- It was an historic night for players on both the boys and girls basketball teams at Trinity Lutheran this weekend.

In the history of Oregon high school basketball, only 22 people have ever scored more than 2,000 points in their career. Senior forward Matt Eidler made that list one name longer on Saturday.

Entering the game against the North Lake Cowboys, Eidler needed 16 points to hit the mark. His special moment came late in the third quarter, when teammate Abe Clift found him on the right block under the basket for a layup.

"They called a timeout, so we were all on the bench, we were all high-fiving, coach high-fived me, all the players, and they were just congratulating me," Eidler said Monday.

Saints Head Coach Kyle Gilbert said, “He will go down as, you know, the greatest, if not, one of the greatest players to ever come through Central Oregon alone. He's just left a lasting legacy already at Trinity basketball."

Coach Gilbert said the great thing about Eidler is he does not worry about stats. Instead, he cares more about helping his team and making it back to the state championship, where the Saints’ season ended in 2018-19.

Still, it’s fun to examine the statistics behind Eidler’s milestone.

Eidler finished Saturday’s game with 23 points, giving him 2,007 in his career. According to Cutting Down the Nets by Tom Rohlffs, that puts Eidler 23rd on the list of all-time scorers in the state across all divisions, and 15th on the list across smaller-classified schools (3A, 2A, or 1A – Trinity Lutheran is a 1A school).

In 98 career games, Eidler has 20.5 points per game on average. If the Saints make it back to the state championship, that gives them 15 games left. Staying on this pace means Eidler would finish this season, and his career, with about 2,315 points. That would put Eidler seventh on the all-time scoring list, and fifth on the small school classification list.

Rohlffs calls Eidler’s accomplishment an “incredible feat,” considering he estimates more than 380,000 people have played high school basketball in Oregon since 1919, the year of the first state tournament. Other players to eclipse 2,000 career points include NBA champion Kevin Love (1st) and Oregon Ducks senior Payton Pritchard (13th).

"It's an honor,” Eidler said. “I feel really blessed to be in that position and stuff like that, but I respect all those players a lot more."

On the girls’ side, sophomore Elli Kent entered Saturday's matchup against the North Lake Cowgirls averaging more than 30 points a game on the season. Not only did she top that mark during the game, she broke a school record, scoring 51 points -- a record previously held by Eidler, after he scored 45 points in a game last season.

Kent said she did not know how many points she scored, or that she set a new school record, until Head Coach Irish Milandin told her after the game.

"My teammates congratulated me and said they were really proud of me, and I could not have done it without them,” Kent said Monday. “I have great coaches, and over the years I’ve had really amazing coaches to help me get to where I am."

Kent transferred from Bend High to Trinity Lutheran this season. Milandin said he first noticed Kent was a special player when they hosted her for a shootaround in September.

"The first thing she did was she came in and she took a jump shot from one foot away,” Milandin said. “That tells me that she is a player who knows what it means to warm up first and to go through the motions of getting yourself prepped for a shoot-around. At that point in time, we saw her form, we saw her mechanics, and everything just clicked. It was like, a very wide-open look of, 'Wow, we've got a player on our hands.'"

Milandin said this is the first year Trinity Lutheran has had a girls' varsity basketball program in four years. He said Kent's been an exciting and disciplined centerpiece to lead the charge.

By the way, the boys’ team beat North Lake 71-40, and the girls won 65-58 in overtime.

Sports

Max Goldwasser

Max Goldwasser is a reporter and producer for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Max here.

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