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Aesoph delivers success for Faulkton

Faulkton’s Isabel Aesoph, center, passes the ball as Aberdeen Christian’s Grace Kaiser, far right, defends during a game earlier this season at the Aberdeen Christian School gym. In the photo for the Knights are Hanna Miller (23) and Chloe Holt (30). Aesoph has been a cornerstone of the Faulkton volleyball and girls' basketball teams for multiple years. Photo by John Davis taken 1/18/2022

FAULKTON – Isabel Aesoph is a problem.

Not for Faulkton, of course, but for any opposing team’s defensive game plan. The Trojan senior is averaging just under 20 points a game, plays nearly every minute of the game, and when her team needs a bucket, chances are Aesoph delivers.

Thing is, though, she’s not a surprise. Teams know what they’re going to get when they take the floor against the Trojans. It’s why most of them dedicate at least part of a practice to creating a defensive strategy to stopping Aesoph.

Here’s how that’s worked out so far – in 19 games thus far, Aesoph has been held to 14 or fewer points just seven times and to single digits twice. She has topped the 20-point plateau nine times and bested the 30-point benchmark on two occasions.

“There’s not a lot of teams that can contain her,” said Faulkton coach Chase Casper. “She’s so good off the bounce, and she can get by just about anybody 1-on-1.”

Aesoph acknowledges that driving to the rim is her preferred method of scoring, which plays well into the Trojans’ transition offense mindset.

“We like to get up and down as much as we can,” Casper said. “Sometimes the scores don’t always reflect that, but that’s when she can be deadly with the ball in her hands. … She uses her shoulders so well and her concentration is outstanding.”

But it’s not all about the drive. After all, a one-dimensional player can be stopped. So, Aesoph went to work over the summer developing a more consistent outside shot.

Her efforts have certainly paid off. Aesoph has hit on just under 25 percent of her 3-point attempts this season, and has drilled two or more long-range shots in seven games.

For her, it’s just doing what she can to help her team, even if it invites even more defensive attention from other teams.

“I just try to move around as much as I can and tire out my defender,” Aesoph said. “It doesn’t bother me. I like the pressure.”

Faulkton’s Isabel Aesoph moves the ball up the floor during Tuesday night’s game at the Aberdeen Christian School gym. Photo by John Davis taken 1/18/2022

Of course, Aesoph is no stranger to pressure situations. She has been a part of the Trojan volleyball program that has forged its way into the Faulkton history books throughout her career, starting with just reaching the state tournament, then the school’s first-ever state tournament victory and the highest finish ever.

“She’s one of the hardest workers and toughest competitors that we’ve had come through our school,” Casper said. “She played through an ankle (injury) a couple years ago and a bit of a quad issue this year, but you’d never know it. She wants to win so much and she’ll play through anything. She just wants to be there.”

Aesoph hopes that work ethic and dedication rub off, but says she can be both a vocal leader and one that leads by example.

“I just hope they watch and feed off what I do,” she said.

Aesoph’s efforts have helped lead the Trojans to 11 wins so far this season, and with the postseason looming next week, she is not ready to say goodbye to the season.

“I think in the postseason anything can happen,” Aesoph said. “Any team is beatable. We’re playing better than we were earlier in the season. I’d say we’re in pretty good shape right now.”

The Trojans round out the regular season this evening at Sully Buttes before turning their attention to region tournament play.

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