Fairmont head girls basketball coach Don Waletich has senior guard Kristen Campe make a certain number of 3-pointers before she can leave practice.
"It used to be that coach would have me shoot 3s until I made five in a row," said Campe. "Now, that has gotten to be kind of easy for me, so I think he's going to bump that up to six or seven in a row."
The extra work has paid off though, with Campe closing in on former Fairmont standout Rhiannon Plumhoff's record of 95 career 3-pointers made.
BREAKING AWAY — Fairmont guard Kristen Campe (25) dribbles past Granada-Huntley-East Chain’s Allyson Cegelske (right) during a fastbreak opportunity during nonconference basketball action last Saturday at Cardinal Gym in Fairmont. Teammate Sierra Schultz trails the play. Campe’s extra work in practice has the senior standout nearing the program’s career 3-point record. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
The biggest shot of the 5-foot-7 senior's career to this juncture came just a couple weeks ago from behind the arc. Campe hit one of her patented shots from the corner to send the Cardinals into overtime against Section 3AA rival Martin County West.
"The play was not designed to come to me, it just did," said Campe. "And it was really nerve-racking, and after I made the shot it was like I was hyperventilating, so I didn't play hardly at all in overtime."
Campe scored 12 points in the 62-58 victory over the Mavericks, with every one coming from behind the 3-point line. Despite a week of illness in the early part of the season, Campe is averaging 10 points and 4 rebounds per outing.
As a junior, Campe averaged 10 points per game and added 27 steals and doled out 25 assists. This season, her scoring has really helped the balanced Cardinals' early success.
"We expected her to have a good season this year," said Waletich. "She is one our hardest workers and has a great shot. As a coach, we wish she'd shoot more, but she does everything we ask her to do, which is great."
As one of the top outside scoring threats for Fairmont, Campe's skills help to balance out her teammates Kayla Lardy, Alex Christianson and Courtney Mosloski's presence inside the lane.
"We have all played together for a long time and most of the team is back from last year," said Campe. "Last year was like our starting year, and now we know each other, so I think that's part of why we've been doing so well."
In addition to beating top section opponent Martin County West on Dec. 20, the Cardinals also beat Class 2A, No. 9-ranked Braham on Dec. 27 in St. Cloud.
"I think the game against the Mavericks is the most fun game I've ever played in," said Campe. "It was such a good game by both teams. My mom even said after the game that we had the biggest smiles she'd ever seen on all our faces."
Despite a few big wins, neither Campe nor the Cardinals are settling for their 12-2 overall start or their 5-0 South Central Conference record.
"As a team, we are focused each day on whatever team we are playing or on practice. But since we've started out well, coach had a talk with us about what we could accomplish if we can keep improving," said Campe. "We'd like to win the conference and maybe go to state, but we'll see how the rest of the season goes."
With the extra time that the Fairmont coaches, Campe and her teammates spend in the gym, the Cardinals are working toward having a long season.
"I think Campe's overall hard work and toughness makes her a great leader for the team," said Waletich. "If we can get her to take more shots, then I think she could really become a big threat from the outside."
"I feel like I shoot a lot, but everyone's always saying to shoot more," said Campe. "To me, as long as the team wins, that's all that matters. Whether I score or not isn't important."