Rockford area sophomore gives up gymnastics, breaks 27-year record in basketball
Emma Pierson’s dad, Ryan, once held Dakota’s career scoring record and earned a basketball scholarship to Highland Community College.
Her mom (the former Brenda Fuchs) also played basketball for Dakota, earned a volleyball scholarship to Highland and still holds the school record in the 100-meter high hurdles.
Emma was a gymnast — a good one — until she was told she could only be a gymnast.
“I pulled away from gymnastics when they wanted me to sign something saying that would be the only sport I would play,” Pierson said. “My parents wanted to see what other sports I could play."
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Like her mom, Pierson now plays three sports and excels in each one.
She went to state in the 400 meters and the 4x100 relay team as a freshman for Belvidere last spring. She led Belvidere Co-op to its first regional golf title last fall. And she now holds Belvidere’s single-game scoring record in basketball after scoring 40 points in a win over East.
“Thank goodness we didn’t sign and decided to try other things,” her mom said. “When they are little, you don’t know what to put them in, so we tried gymnastics just as a little, quick program. But she had other talents that are much cheaper than gymnastics.”
“I am really happy,” Emma said. "It’s cool to watch gymnastics, but I don’t think I would have liked it when I got older. A lot of injuries happen. It would have been hard on my body.”
Pierson joins East’s Kabrea Jamerson and Boylan’s Halle Stull as the only NIC-10 girls basketball players to score 40 points in one game in the last 12 years.
And she broke the 27-year-old school record of 38 points set by Amanda Levens, who became a two-time All-Pac-12 player at Arizona State and is now the head coach at the University of Nevada.
“She is a big deal at Belvidere,” Emma said. “She was such a great player. ... It feels amazing to do such a big thing at my school as only a sophomore and have two years to grow and develop and get even better.”
Belvidere coach Mike Bradford called Pierson’s record game a “big shot in the arm” for a program that has finished either ninth or 10th in the conference for six straight years and is 5-21 (3-12 NIC-10) this season.
Even more, Bradford appreciates how Pierson got the record.
With the score out of hand, he “didn’t want to rub it in” and told Pierson he was going to pull her from the game. The next two times down the court she passed to open teammates to let them score.
“That was classy,” Bradford said, “knowing the record was in the balance and her time was limited. And she didn’t do it once. She did it twice.”
“I thought it would help boost my teammates more by giving them the feel for scoring," Pierson said. "I want to give them confidence to help finish our season strong.”
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, @matttrowbridge or 815-987-1383. Matt Trowbridge has covered sports for the Rockford Register Star for over 30 years, after previous stints in North Dakota, Delaware, Vermont and Iowa City.
This article originally appeared on Rockford Register Star: Sophomore Emma Pierson sets new Belvidere basketball scoring record