E-M’s Ohm leads AP’s elite squad

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 16, 2005

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) &045; Katie Ohm’s presence at youth basketball tournaments around the state used to raise skeptical eyebrows about her age.

Years later, she’s still drawing plenty of disbelief: She scored HOW MANY points?

Ohm became Minnesota’s all-time leading scorer, boy or girl, this season and finished her Elgin-Millville High School career with 3,694 points.

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She broke the previous mark, held by Megan Taylor of Roseau, by 394 points and led the Watchmen to their first state championship by downing undefeated Fosston in the Class 1A final on Saturday.

For all those accomplishments, Ohm was named The Associated Press’ Player of the Year for Minnesota girls’ basketball on Tuesday. Joined on the first team all-state team by Fosston’s Kayla Bagaason, Underwood’s Ashley Samuelson, Woodbury’s Amanda Nisleit and St. Paul Central’s Ashley Ellis-Milan, Ohm was a landslide selection by a statewide panel of sportswriters and broadcasters.

No surprise to anybody who watched her play as a little girl. She was so tall, so good back then that opponents often wondered whether her team was using a ringer.

&uot;They’d always question about how old she was,&uot; said Clark Olstad, Elgin-Millville’s head coach, athletics director and principal. &uot;And they’d be right. Instead of fifth grade, she’d be in fourth.&uot;

Ohm, also a volleyball and softball star, has signed with the University of Minnesota. Olstad predicted a spike in traffic heading north on Hwy. 52 from the Rochester area when the Gophers play next fall and winter. Ohm, who was in Mexico this week on a school trip and unavailable for comment, attended nearly every Gophers home game this season to check out her future teammates.

&uot;I think she’ll do fine up there,&uot; Olstad said, noting her 6-foot, well-built frame that should allow her to play power forward in the Big Ten.

Ohm has always been big.

&uot;I’m not sure she’s grown a lick since seventh or eighth grade,&uot; Olstad said.

Indeed, Ohm played some as a seventh-grader and was all-conference the next season. She reached the 1,000-point mark as a freshman and broke the school’s scoring record as a sophomore.

It wasn’t just her, though. This year’s senior class was targeted a while back as one that could bring the school a state championship. That was evident last week at Target Center, when Ohm scored a relatively quiet 56 points over the Watchmen’s three victories.

&uot;That’s the tough part about our team,&uot; she said after the quarterfinal victory over Underwood.

&uot;You can’t just guard one player. You have to guard all five.&uot;

The towns of Elgin and Millville have always liked their basketball, but Ohm’s class has ignited

interest in the sport.

&uot;It’s definitely increased,&uot; Olstad said. &uot;There’s a lot more energy in the elementary programs and now the parents want to travel more.&uot;