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Eleven days.

It’s the amount of time that separated Oakwood senior Katelyn Young and Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin senior Emily Meidel when it came to reaching 2,000 career basketball points.

Meidel received an up-close look at Young’s achievement, since the Murray State signee secured it in the Comets’ win over the Blue Devils on Dec. 16.

“I knew I was getting close to it, but I didn’t know when I was going to hit it,” Young said. “It was kind of a surprise to me.”

Knocking on that 2,000-point door herself, Meidel answered the call in a Dec. 27 BSN Classic pool-play victory versus Salt Fork at Bismarck.

“I knew I had the chance to do it,” Meidel said. “It was kind of a goal I set for myself, but it was never something I was solely focused on.”

It’s fitting the 2,000-point accomplishment became the latest way for Young and Meidel to find their names connected.

Both girls have been basketball standouts since they were freshmen, playing only second fiddle in their region to a mostly-graduated cast of stars at Schlarman.

Young is a three-time News-Gazette All-Area first-teamer in the sport. Meidel has earned the mantle twice. On top of that, each holds one All-Area first-team award in another venture — Young in track and field, Meidel in volleyball.

The two have been part of the same number of hoops wins (91) and are separated by fewer than 20 points (Young at 2,132, Meidel at 2,113) as they enter the home stretch of their respective high school basketball tenures.

And they’ve spent the entire time doing head-to-head battle on various courts.

Always required to be aware of what the other is dishing out, whether it be in a Vermilion Valley Conference game, Vermilion County Tournament matchup or IHSA postseason affair.

“It makes me better going up against her,” Meidel said. “When we have that competition and we kind of parallel each other, it makes us both better and we’re able to improve.”

Both Meidel and Young recall first interacting, from a basketball perspective, in junior high.

Meidel’s initial takeaway: Young “being super tall.” That hasn’t changed with Young standing 6-foot-1, though Meidel nearly has come up to meet her at 5-11.

“It’s always been Oakwood and Bismarck as big rivals since we’ve been growing up,” Young said. “Around eighth grade, I really remember her being one of the very good players. I feel like, over the years, she has just been getting a lot better.”

For as many similarities as these two possess on the hardwood, though, they can’t be equals in one department.

Wins and losses against one another.

To that end, Oakwood has been on the right side of the scoreboard more often than not. In fact, BHRA’s lone success over the Comets across both girls’ prep basketball careers came in a 2019 Class 2A regional final.

The Comets knocked off the Blue Devils in all three county championship games involving these two competitors.

“That’s definitely something that sticks out,” Meidel said. “We played them earlier this season and didn’t play our best game. We’re ready to get another chance at them (in this month’s county tournament).”

So, yes, there is a natural fire and desire within both girls to succeed. In basketball, volleyball or track and field.

Yet they’ve also developed a mutual respect. One of the first words each athlete uses to describe the other is “humble.”

“She’s very friendly,” Young said. “I totally feel like it’s a friendly rivalry type thing.”

Young’s future upon graduating in 2020 already is decided, courtesy inking with Murray State women’s hoops late last year.

“We’ve both played with each other since junior high,” Meidel said, “so I can’t wait to see what she does.”

Meidel still is seeking out her college path, saying it’s likely she’ll stick with basketball.

“She can totally make a difference at really anywhere that she is deciding to go,” Young said. “She’ll totally make the right decision.”

Colin Likas is prep sports coordinator at The News-Gazette. His email is clikas@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@clikasNG).

College/Prep Sports Reporter

Colin Likas covers Illinois football and high school sports at The News-Gazette. His email is clikas@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@clikasNG).

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