Storm player back at full strength
Autumn Thompson wasn't sure what to expect immediately after a serious knee injury a year ago ended her junior high school basketball season prematurely.
Thompson suffered a torn ACL and MCL in her left knee in a game last January. Following surgery to repair the damage, there was rehabilitation and self doubt.
"I knew I'd definitely come back and play my senior year,'' Thompson said. "But I was really scared at first. I didn't know if I'd be the same player I was before I was hurt.''
Recovery has gone well. Thompson was back for volleyball in the fall. Now she is teaming with Abi McGlynn for a formidable scoring duo as Stephen-Argyle is off to a 16-1 start and gained spots in the weekly Minnesota Class A state rankings.
Thompson averages 20.5 points and McGlynn 17.7 for a Storm team that is three points from unbeaten status. The lone Storm loss was a 55-53 setback to East Grand Forks Senior High.
"I'll think about our record and it's like, 'Holy moley,' '' said Thompson, who recently scored the 1,500th point of her career. "But we have talent. We work hard. And we don't like to lose.
"I'm doing pretty well. There are times when I notice (the left knee) when I'm moving side to side. But I think I'm a better player than I was before it happened.''
Thompson's scoring average is actually down slightly from a year ago. But there's a reason for that.
"She's not shooting as much as in the past,'' S-A coach Dan Lindgren said. "And that's mostly because we have other girls who have picked up their scoring.''
Lindgren said Thompson and McGlynn are as good a one-two scoring punch as he's coached at Stephen-Argyle. They're effective in different ways.
"Abi has really come on this year,'' Lindgren said. "She's such a natural athlete. She's about speed. She gets up and down the floor and gets a lot of points in transition. She'll get a defensive rebound, get out and go.
"Autumn is more of a shooter and penetrator. She'll drive and use her strength to get to the basket for a layup or draw a foul and get to the free-throw line. When her shooting is on, she can put in a lot of points in a hurry.''
Rounding out the starting lineup are Savannah Riopelle (10.1 ppg, 6.9 apg), leading rebounder Abbey Johnson (6.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg) and defensive stopper Madalynn Weberg (5.1 ppg).
Riopelle offers a potential third prolific scorer. But the junior point guard doesn't prioritize points. "Savannah could be more of a scorer, but she's so unselfish,'' Lindgren said. "She always looks to pass first rather than score.''
With the development of McGlynn and the healthy return of Thompson, the Storm haven't needed Riopelle to be a big scorer.
" You wondered after Autumn was hurt if she'd come back at full strength,'' Lindgren said. "But the doctors said she'd be fine. And I don't see much difference in her game from before the injury.
"Abi picked up her scoring after Autumn got hurt last year. I don't know if she had realized how good she could be.''