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Abby Duchscherer a softball and basketball star in North Dakota

Kindred sophomore Abby Duchscherer was named the 2019-20 Gatorade North Dakota Girls Basketball Player of the Year. (Courtesy: Sam Brandt)

KINDRED, N.D. (BVM) — Abby Duchscherer is considered one of the best, if not the best, basketball players in the state of North Dakota and she’s only a sophomore.

If you talk with Kindred High School girls basketball head coach Sam Brandt, she’ll say that Abby has been an amazing athlete since she was young.

“One tournament I drew up a play for Abby to shoot a three as a sixth grader,” Brandt said. “In the timeout she looked at me and said, ‘I am not shooting a three.’ I looked at her and said, ‘Yes you are,’ and she said, ‘No. I’ve never shot a three in a game before.’ We executed it really well and she missed so she was (mad) about it. She made everybody run it again and she made it the second time.”

It was that competitiveness and desire to get better that made Duchscherer stand out.

“You knew no matter what her skill level was she was going to be successful,” Brandt said. 

At the time, Brandt was also the assistant coach for the Vikings and knew that Duchscherer had the ability to play up. Duchscherer proved Brandt right and as a seventh grader she came off the bench for Kindred’s varsity team.

“I called her a spark plug,” Brandt said. “She raised the level of the game anytime she went in there as a seventh grader.”

“It was definitely nerve-racking right away, but they took me under their wing,” Duchscherer said.

She may have been nervous, but it didn’t stop her from scoring about 350 points as the Vikings won the Class B state championship. The following year, Duchscherer went from being on the bench to being the focal point of the team.

“I definitely got the leadership role after that senior class my seventh grade year left,” Duchscherer said. 

As an eighth grader, Duchscherer led the Vikings to another state championship and then a third one as a freshman. During her freshman year, she also surpassed 1,000 career points and, according to her coach, she’ll reach 2,000 sometime next season.

This past season was a bit of a letdown for Kindred as they lost to Central Cass in the Region 1 sectional final. Duchshcerer still made first team all-state and was named the Gatorade North Dakota Girls Basketball Player of the Year.

Duchscherer has come a long way with her basketball skill.

“To compare it I’d say she’s a better softball player than a basketball player, but I don’t know if I say that anymore, she’s pretty good at basketball,” Brandt said. 

Even with all her accolades and accomplishments in basketball, it was only recently that basketball reached the level that softball has been at for Duchscherer.

“Growing up I’ve always loved basketball and softball,” Duchscherer said.

“She was recruited really young for softball,” Brandt said. “I saw her at a tournament as a sixth grader. All these Division I coaches were there for this big tournament in North Dakota sitting in the stands behind her. She walks to the plate. She’s the leadoff hitter; first pitch of the game out it goes. Out and over, she had three of those in that game as a sixth grader.”

Since then, Duchscherer has been recruited by the top college programs in the country. Through her club softball teams, she has been able to get the exposure that she has somewhat lacked in basketball. Due to this, for a while she wasn’t truly aware of what her potential in basketball really was.

“My plan this spring was to play some AAU and get some exposure,” Duchscherer said. 

The idea was to get Duchsherer to play against some of the best players in the country at her age. It would have also been an opportunity for college coaches to see her skill. Unfortunately all those tournaments were canceled because of COVID-19.

“As far as her determining what sport and where, she’s still in the air,” Brandt said. 

Duchscherer confirmed that sentiment.

“It’s going to be hard if I have to give up one sport,” Duchscherer said. “When you’re in season you just love that sport.”

No matter what she decides, Duchscherer will leave North Dakota as one of the best athletes in the state. 

“Abby is in the top 3% of athletes,” Brandt said. “She has the IQ, the drive, the competitiveness, but the difference with Abby is her ability to make her teammates better.”

“I just want to keep on getting better so I can be the best in North Dakota,” Duchscherer said. 

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