Bio: Opelt, Bella - Scores 1,000th Point (Jan 2021)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Opelt. Gaier

----Source: The Clark County Press, (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 1/21/2021

Opelt Scores (1,000th Point - 2021)

By Valorie Brecht

Neillsville High School senior Bella Opelt scored her 1,000th point in a game against Loyal Jan. 11. She scored 18 points total in that game. Valerie Brecht/Clark County Press photos

Neillsville High School basketball player Bella Opelt reached a large milestone in her athletic career when she scored her 1,000th point in a game at Loyal last week.

Neillsville coach John Gaier said Opelt was only the second player in his years of coaching that has achieved this feat.

“We have had good depth on our team, so we played a lot of players. So, the ability to get to 1,000 on our team is pretty unique,” Gaier said after the Jan. 11 game. “What I really enjoyed is her teammates celebrating for her. And that’s really been the strength of our team – we have a lot of kids that cheer on one another and that showed tonight.”

Going into the game, Opelt, a senior, knew she needed to score at least 17 points to get to 1,000. She also knew that was an achievable goal, as she has averaged 15 points per game this season as her team’s leading scorer and had scored as many as 23 points in a game. However, reaching 1,000 points was not her main focus.

“I was thinking that Loyal’s going to be a tough one. We’re going to work to get open. Even if I don’t get that 1,000th point, it’s just a win under the belt,” she said.

Opelt had already made five two-pointers, one three-pointer and a free throw by the time the clock ticked down to 5:10 remaining in the game. At that point, Opelt dribbled into the lane and put up a jump shot for two. That left her one point away from reaching 1,000. After a minute-and-half of no scoring, Opelt found her way to the basket again and put in a layup to send her over the top. Gaier called a timeout as the Neillsville fans and players rose to their feet to celebrate..

Bella Opelt shoots a two-point basket to earn her 1000th and 1,001st points of her high school career.

“I was really excited and really happy for me and my teammates because they helped me through this whole thing.” Said Opelt.

That layup ended up being the last points scored in the game and Neillsville won, 71-27.

Opelt became the 10th player in school history to reach 1,000 points scored. As of Jan. 13, she was shooting 66.4 percent from the field this season. She also had the second-highest points per game average of any female basketball player in the Cloverbelt-East.

According to data from, Opelt was also her team’s leading scorer last year, averaging 14.8 points per game.

“It’s a tremendous compliment to Bella and her skills. And she’s not only a good player, but she’s a great person. We have a lot of those on our team,” he said.

“She’s quick and she loves the game. She’s a kid that never misses, whether it’s a practice or an open gym or whatever it is, she’s always there. Another important attribute is she’s really humble. I just can’t compliment her enough as a player or a person.”

Opelt said her goals for the rest of the season included winning as many games as possible and getting as deep into the playoffs as possible.

Next year she plans to attend Ripon College to study early childhood education and play basketball there.



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