TWIN BRIDGES — Sure, there was really no rush and Allie Dale could have comfortably waited until this upcoming weekend's tournament in Lewistown to hit that coveted 1,000-point benchmark.
But last Saturday, with the Twin Bridges senior sitting at 980 career points and getting set to play West Yellowstone at home, she decided she wanted to collect those necessary 20 points right then and there.
"The night before, my dad told me, 'If you have a good game, you'll be pretty close to that,'" she recalled.
Her father's words proved prescient, and on Dale's final field goal of the game — a driving layup high off the glass — she hit an even 1,000 points to make her the first Falcon to accomplish that feat since Kailee Oliverson and, before her, Montana Gatorade Player of the Year and future Montana State standout Peyton Ferris.
"It was kind of cool to be on my home court with a good deal of fans and a bunch of my family here watching," said Dale.
That scoring feat was an inevitable milestone for Dale, who, after a quiet freshman season, evolved into Twin Bridges' leading scorer as a sophomore and junior as she helped lead her team to consecutive Western C championships and state tournament appearances, culminating in last season's run to the title game.
"Anyone who's followed our team the past couple seasons know what a threat Allie Dale is on both sides of the ball," said head coach Hannah Konen. "There's so many games that we wouldn't have been in or wouldn't have been able to win if it wasn't for Allie.
"The thing is, Allie's not just producing in blowout wins, she's producing in games that mean the most to us — championship games, games at the state tournament. She's just a competitor, she's determined and she shows up in those big moments."
Last season's run to the Class C championship ended in a lopsided 59-26 loss to Saco-Whitewater-Hinsdale in that co-op's first title. It was Twin Bridges' third-ever appearance in the state championship (the others being 1982 and 2012), and the program is still in the hunt for its first title.
"We've very hungry, and I think that's something we've been working on over the summer," said Dale. "The day after that championship, there were some pretty sore hearts, but we've been putting in work all throughout the offseason."
Dale is one of five seniors including Emma Konen — the younger sister of Hannah — who have been the Falcons' driving force since they were sophomores. They hope these past years of growing accustomed to winning big games pay off in a big way as the season goes on.
"They understand that it's a long season and that we need to be playing our best basketball at the end of February and March," said Hannah. "It's going to be another fun season seeing how everyone competes. But the experience is something we're going to rely heavily on."