High School Girls Basketball Focus: St. Charles super-athlete Gust all about effort

Makadyn Gust recently scored 40 points in a game. Scoring is just one of the things that this strong and fast junior does well for the St. Charles girls basketball team.

St. Charles, Plainview-Elgin-Millville girls basketball
St. Charles’ Makadyn Gust (24) controls the ball during a girls basketball game against Plainview-Elgin-Millville on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022, at St. Charles High School in St. Charles.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

ST. CHARLES — Makadyn Gust’s favorite sport?

Standard answer there: whichever one the St. Charles star all-around athlete is playing at the time.

“If she were playing spikeball right now, that would probably be her favorite,” St. Charles basketball coach Matt McMahon said. “She just likes to compete. That’s her biggest thing.”

Gust, a Saints junior, does have three sports that she likes best. In no certain order they are soccer, basketball and softball. She was an all-state goalie in soccer this past fall, and in softball has been an all-section and all-conference player.

Right now, basketball is in season, so despite her team struggling to win games (5-13 overall), that is her current No. 1. Gust is certainly playing like it’s her top thing. In her last four games, she’s scored 28, 40, 8 and 24 points, respectively. Over her last seven games, the ultra-athletic 5-foot-8 guard/forward has averaged 21 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals.


It is her athleticism — so quick, fast and strong — that sets her apart and allows her to take over games.

“She is a strong kid who can run,” McMahon said. “And that makes all the difference in the world. The faster the game is, the better she is. Plus, she is such a hard-working kid. She loves the game and loves competing. That’s why she shines in other sports as well. She shows up in every game.”

Gust considers her top attribute to be her strength, something she’s been working at since the eighth grade.

Three mornings per week, year round, Gust and a pack of 14 other girls show up at 6 a.m. in the St. Charles weight room and get in their lifts.

She’s proud of how the number of girls joining her has climbed over the years.

“When I first started, I was the only girl doing it,” Gust said. “But I then started to bring a lot of my friends with me, and those girls then brought their friends. It’s fun now to see all of these girls lifting. They’re starting to have a lot of confidence in the weight room.”

That added strength has bolstered Gust’s confidence in every sport. In basketball, she says it helps her especially on defense, where she’s a thief. It’s also helped her be one of her team’s top rebounders.

“When I get those steals, that’s allowed me to score in transition,” Gust said. “And that added strength has helped me have even more speed.”


Kingsland girls.jpg
The Kingsland girls basketball team recently put on their "Pink Night at the Dungeon," a game with LeRoy-Ostrander on Jan. 26 that was also used as a fundraiser for cancer-patient home Hope Lodge in Rochester.
Contributed / David Phillips

Pink Night at the Dungeon

SPRING VALLEY — The Kingsland girls basketball team has made a habit out of raising money for special causes under head coach Steve Hauser, along with ample help from Kingsland Athletic Director Laurie Hendrickson.

This year, Hauser and the Knights took things up another notch as they recently raised $1,000 which they are donating to Hope Lodge in Rochester, a home for cancer patients and their caregivers.

The money was raised through a variety of sponsorships as well as an evening dedicated to their fundraising cause, “Pink Night at the Dungeon.”

That happened on Jan. 26, with Kingsland hosting LeRoy-Ostrander. The Knights showed up decked out in their recently donated pink uniforms, ones they’ll now wear once a season for their annual fundraiser. A donation jar was set up at the sold-out game and raffle tickets sold.

Hauser says he has a group of players who are dedicated to helping others. Between that and some generous sponsors, it’s what allowed the fundraiser to be such a success.

“We have a bunch of girls who care more about other people than themselves,” Hauser said. “But I think things like this are important. I want our girls to understand that there are so many things outside of basketball that will affect them. We will go to Hope Lodge with the team, make the donation and have a chance to interact with the guests there. To walk into a place that (is dedicated to cancer patients), it is an awesome feeling.”


1. Clarissa Sauer, Winona Cotter

Sauer has been on a tear since being prodded shortly into this season to be more of a scorer. On Jan. 23 in what turned into a duel with Plainview-Elgin-Millville star Abigail O’Reilly, Sauer scored 34 points, hitting all seven of the 3-pointers she tried. Overall, the sophomore was a blistering 11-for-13 from the field. She also grabbed 10 rebounds and had 7 steals. Cotter won the game 73-68.


Lake City vs. PEM girls basketball
Plainview-Elgin-Millville's Abigail O'Reilly goes up for a shot over Lake City's Emma Berge as part of the HVL-TRC Showcase on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2023 at the Mayo Civic Center.
Alex VandenHouten / Post Bulletin

2. Abigail O’Reilly, Plainview-Elgin-Millville

O’Reilly, a 6-foot-1 power player who can jump, scored 39 points in a 73-68 loss to Winona Cotter on Jan. 23. O’Reilly was 17-for-22 from the field. She also had 10 rebounds, 6 steals and 2 assists.

St. Charles, Plainview-Elgin-Millville girls basketball
St. Charles’ Makadyn Gust (24) looks for a pass during a girls basketball game against Plainview-Elgin-Millville on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022, at St. Charles High School in St. Charles.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

3. Makadyn Gust, St. Charles

Gust had a career-high 40 points on Jan. 24 in a 64-53 win over Spring Grove. The 5-foot-8 junior hit 16 of 22 field-goal tries (2-for-5 on 3-pointers) and 6 of 7 free throws. She also “chipped” in 10 rebounds and four steals. Earlier in the week, Gust scored 24 points in a loss to Triton.

4. Kaci Ruen, Lanesboro

The senior center has been doing damage for years for the Burros. That’s how she achieved the milestone she did on Jan. 25, surpassing 1,000 points for her career with a 20-point effort against Mabel-Canton. Ruen is all about the number 1,000, having also recorded her 1,000th career kill in volleyball this past season.

5. Ileana deAngel, Wabasha-Kellogg

There has yet to be a win this season for the Wabasha-Kellogg girls basketball team. Still, Falcons guard/forward Ileana deAngel has produced. On Jan. 24, the 5-foot-7 junior was at her best, with 26 points, 11 rebounds and five 3-pointers in an overtime loss to Mabel-Canton. DeAngel buried 5 of 8 3-point attempts.

Schaeffer Academy, Houston girls basketball
Houston’s Sydney Torgerson (2) goes up for a shot during a girls basketball game against Schaeffer Academy on Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, at Schaeffer Academy in Rochester.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

6. Sydney Torgerson, Houston

The veteran power forward was at her best on Jan. 23 when she pushed Houston to a 72-55 win over Southland. Torgerson finished with 31 points, 7 rebounds, 4 steals and 4 assists. She made 11 of 17 shots from 2-point range and buried all nine of her free throws. Six days earlier, Torgerson scored 28 points in a win over Spring Grove.


7. Natalie Beaver, Hayfield

Beaver, a 5-foot-11 junior forward, had 25 points, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 assists and 2 steals in a 60-34 rout of Maple River on Jan. 20. Beaver was a red-hot 11-for-15 from the field, including 1-for-3 on 3-pointers. Beaver finishing with double figures in points and rebounds has become routine for her this season.

8. Brylee Iverson, Triton

Iverson, who missed the first half of the season after surgery due to her exertional compartment syndrome, is nicely rounding back into form. The 6-foot-1 senior and Southwest Minnesota State University recruit was at her best on Jan. 27, with 30 points, 10 rebounds, 5 steals and 2 assists in a win over Medford. Iverson made 13 of 20 shots from the field.

Schaeffer Academy, Houston girls basketball
Schaeffer Academy’s Kate Friese (3) tries for a 3-pointer during a girls basketball game against Houston Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, at Schaeffer Academy in Rochester.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

9. Kate Friese, Schaeffer Academy

The 5-foot-7 Schaeffer senior had a historical game on Jan. 27, when she scored 19 points in a win over LeRoy-Ostrander. That put Friese over 1,000 points for her career.


(Editor's note: These rankings are considered "pound-for-pound" rankings, similar to many rankings systems in boxing and mixed martial arts. They represent the best teams in southeastern Minnesota, relative to the class they play in.

1. Stewartville (17-2)

The Tigers haven’t lost since Dec. 6, when Byron beat them 68-60. That seems like another season ago now. Stewartville, ranked fourth in Class AAA and on a 14-game winning streak, seems to get better every game. Its latest win was against fellow top-10 Class AAA ranked team Red Wing (No. 7), 68-52. The Tigers have another serious test coming. That is Thursday, when they host 15-2 Goodhue. Goodhue is 10-1 in the HVL, Stewartville 8-1.

2. Goodhue (16-2)

That Thursday game at Stewartville is going to be interesting. Goodhue’s starting five can line up with most anyone. But the fourth-ranked Wildcats (Class AA) don’t have the depth that they've had in past seasons. Stewartville beat them on Dec. 20, 73-62. Goodhue has won 11 straight games.

3. Mayo (16-2)

The Spartans took a big hit on Jan. 21 when starting sophomore point guard Kaia Kirkeby was lost for the season with a torn ACL. Still, this is a great team and with a capable though incredibly young player taking Kirkeby’s place, seventh-grade prodigy Amelia Mills. Until losing to Red Wing on Monday, Mayo had won 15 straight games.


4. Lourdes (16-3)

Just three losses for the ninth-ranked Eagles, two to No. 4-ranked Goodhue (Class AA) and one to No. 5 Stewartville (Class AAA). Lourdes has leaned on three seniors to do almost all of its scoring, center Ella Hopkins, forward Vivica Bretton and point guard Emily Bowron. It’s rare that anyone else has more than eight points. But that is an excellent top-three player list and they’ve helped Lourdes to a No. 9 ranking in Class AA.

5. Red Wing (13-3)

After a so-so start to its season, Red Wing has taken off. The Wingers have won eight of their last nine games, the only loss to seemingly now unbeatable Stewartville (68-52). Red Wing hangs its hat on its defense. It is allowing just 43.9 points per game. It scores 56.3 ppg. The Wingers are coming off of their most impressive win of the season, beating powerhouse Mayo 62-45 on Monday. Sammi Chandler had 24 points. That broke up Mayo's 15-game win streak.

6. Hayfield (16-3)

The No. 6-ranked Vikings have had more close games than expected and at least one unforeseen loss. The latter came on Jan. 27, 59-54 to unranked Waterville-Elysian-Morristown. The Vikings have an excellent starting five led by Kristen Watson and Natalie Beaver. But they haven’t developed much depth, at least not yet.

7. Caledonia (16-3)

The Warriors have some serious shooters, with the likes of Ava Privet, Paige Klug and Alexis Schroeder. What Caledonia coach Scott Sorenson would like to see more of from his team is physicality. That lack of grit played out in Caledonia’s most recent loss, an 81-59 swarming by the No. 1 team in these power rankings, Stewartville. Still, this is a heck of a Warriors team, one with just three losses and lots of weapons.

8. Grand Meadow (16-2)

After losing to an athletic Kingsland team 43-38 on Jan. 3, Grand Meadow has rattled off 10 straight wins. The Superlarks also gave No. 6-ranked Hayfield a strong game before losing 49-46 on Dec. 29. Grand Meadow has an excellent mix of talent and scorers. It also has one of the area’s top sophomores, versatile 5-foot-11 forward Lauren Queensland.

9. Winona Cotter (12-4)

Cotter sophomore forward Clarissa Sauer continues to prove herself as one of southeastern Minnesota’s top talents. Previously mostly a rebounder/defender, she’s now routinely scoring in the 20's. She had 38 points on Jan. 23 against Plainview-Elgin-Millville. Sauer has helped Cotter win six of its last seven games, though it was humbled by Byron 63-40 in that span.

10. Kingsland (15-4)

There is speed galore on this team as well as a large appetite for defense. The Knights are using that speed and desire as it is holding teams to just 39.8 points per game. The most impressive win on Kingsland’s resume came on Jan. 3, beating Grand Meadow 43-38.

Pat has been a Post Bulletin sports reporter since 1994. He covers Rochester John Marshall football, as well as a variety of other southeastern Minnesota football teams. Among my other southeastern Minnesota high school beats are girls basketball, boys and girls tennis, boys and girls track and field, high school and American Legion baseball, volleyball, University of Minnesota sports (on occasion) and the Timberwolves (on occasion). Readers can reach Pat at 507-285-7723 or
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