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Small Town Girl (Hillary Paulson)

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The Class 'B' Freeman Flyers play in small town gyms across the state, but Freeman star Hillary Paulson is a big-time player.

"At six-foot tall, she can go in and play the post, she can go outside, she can handle the basketball, she can shoot a three-pointer, she can knock down a 15-foot jump shot," said Freeman girls basketball coach Ryan Mors.

Paulson is one of the highest scorers in the state, averaging around 26 points as well as nearly eleven rebounds per game.

"If we win I'm happy.  I would care less i guess how many points I'm scoring," said Paulson about the only statistic she cares about.

"After practice she'll stick around, she'll shoot longer, she'll work on ball-handling.  The girl has put in an immense amount of time.  She's able to bring our team to that next level and take us to the point of being successful," said Mors.

Small town basketball has it's advantages.  It gives a community something to rally around, especially when the team is a contender.

"The little kids in the town see that and they want to grow up and they want to be like Hillary Paulson,"said Mors.

But it can also be hard for high schoolers to shoulder the burden of those high expectations.

"I do go home and I'm like, 'Wow, everyone, it's gonna be the talk of the town tomorrow.I know if I was in a big town, they'd be like, 'Oh, Freeman won.'  But in Freeman it's like, 'Why did they only win by this?' or 'Why did they lose?'  So I feel quite a bit of pressure I guess," said Paulson.

So far, Paulson has handled it well.  She helped lead Freeman to it's first ever state tournament berth last year.  And now this year, she's hoping for to take the next step and win a state title.

"I'd be ready to graduate that day," said Paulson about winning a championship.

That would really give everyone in town something to talk about.

Jason Anschutz, KDLT Sports, Freeman.

Next year Paulson will play college basketball at Minnesota State-Mankato.
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