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Thorson to play for MSU Moorhead

West Fargo basketball player Cassidy Thorson will be playing ball and attending Minnesota State University Moorhead. Dave Wallis

Senior Cassidy Thorson has dedicated herself to basketball for several years. Today, that dedication pays off as she signs on to play basketball at Minnesota State University Moorhead in the fall.

“As a kid, I always wanted to go somewhere far away,” Thorson said, laughing. “As I got older, I realized I didn’t really want to leave my family. MSUM is close to home, and I like the coaching staff. I think I can do well there.”

The 5-foot-11-inch guard, who began playing basketball as a second-grader, got into the sport by watching games with her brother, Brady, at a young age. While she also participated in soccer in her youth, it didn’t take her long to decide she would rather be in the paint than on the pitch.

It also didn’t take long for her to start turning heads on the basketball court.

“I remember watching her play when she was younger — she was maybe a fourth-grader — and seeing her split a defense and drive to the hoop,” Packers coach Barb Metcalf said. “See has always been a matchup nightmare for other teams.”

She was a significant contributor to the Packers’ varsity team for four years, playing a role for a team that made it to two state championship games and broke the school’s season scoring record three times.

She ends her high school career as the team’s all-time leader in both rebounds (539 in her career)  and steals (198).

She also ranks fourth all-time in scoring and fifth in 3-pointers and assists.

“She is a very unselfish player, and you can see that by her stats,” Metcalf said. “There were times we wanted her to shoot the ball more, but on off shooting nights, she could do so many other things for us. That is the sign of a good player.”

According to Metcalf, Thorson enjoys watching the Miami Heat play, and would come to practice and try the things done by Dwyane Wade — a fellow dribble-and-drive guard — she saw the night before.

“She actually has the ability to put those moves into play,” Metcalf said. “It could really be fun to see her use those at the next level.”

Over her four years with the team, Thorson grew into the typical “quiet leader,” continuing to be less vocal than several of her teammates and instead opting to lead by example.

While she is disappointed that the team failed to make the state championship game after an 18-0 start to the season, Thorson could not help but feel proud and humbled by the individual accolades she earned in her senior season. She scored her 1,000th point — becoming just the fourth player in Packer history to do so — earned all-state honors and was named the Eastern Dakota Conference’s Senior Athlete of the Year.

“I was proud that it happened to me, of course, but I didn’t think I had enough points or rebounds to get it,” Thorson said. “I knew there were other girls that could have won it, so I was really surprised when my name was called. My mom always thought that would happen, and her wish came true.”

Thorson will join the Dragons in the fall, but she is just as excited to begin her post-secondary academic career, saying that it is her dream to earn a degree in elementary education and become a teacher.

While she is excited for the next step in her life, Thorson will be bringing plenty of happy memories from her time as a Packer.

“I’m going to remember all the fun we had in practice,” Thorson said. “There was never a dull moment with those girls. We never got that state title, but all the players I got to play with gave me a lot of memories. It’s sad to leave West Fargo, but I’m happy to go on to that next level. We’ll see where that takes me.”

Her future as an athlete, student and teacher is a bright one, according to her coach.

“She doesn’t like to waste time, and I see that continuing at the next level,” Metcalf said. “She will get out there and make the most of her opportunity.”