Nothing short of 3-MARKABLE
It sounds simple enough. Step behind the 19-foot, 9-inch three-point arc, aim at the basket and launch a shot.
For many high school basketball players that like to fire away from that distance and beyond, most come away disappointed at least two out of three times.
And then there is Minneota senior guard McKenna Yost. Her shooting percentage from beyond the arc this season and in her career is the highest in Minneota girls' basketball history. And that includes some extremely talented players.
The average player shoots around 30 percent from three-point range. The better shooters hit 33-39 percent, and the best shooters can hit treys at a 40-percent clip.
Yost is one of the more prolific three-point shooters in Minneota girls' basketball history, sinking 43.5 percent from that range this season and 40.8 percent for her career.
Since a three-pointer is worth 50 percent more than a two-pointer, Yost's percentage equates to a value of shooting over 64.5 percent from two-point range.
And it's a part of her game that she works on to perfect.
"Sometimes I stay after practice and shoot if we have a game the next day or get out early," said the 5-6 shooting guard. "When I do this, I mostly shoot three-pointers. We do various drills throughout practice that include shooting from the outside, so I get shots up with that as well."
Johnston noted that it is difficult for someone to become a great shooter during the season.
"(McKenna) is a great threat because she has spent a lot of hours outside of practice shooting," he explained. "Scorers are made in the off-season and an individual has to have the discipline to make time to be a good shooter. She has been doing that for years. She has always been able to score, but her role has changed her senior year and she is looking to score more."
Johnston has given Yost the "green light" to shoot a three-pointer whenever she wants.
"About the only time I would tell her not to shoot is late in the game if we are looking to take some time off the clock," he said.
And Yost isn't just a scorer from three-point range. She can drive to the basket and score, too, if someone is pressuring her on top. She is also a solid passer and defender.
"The fact that McKenna is not just a one-dimensional player does make her a bigger threat," Johnston said. "It is easy to guard someone who just stands on the three-point line or just penetrates, but it's harder to stop someone who can do both. She is a smart player, both offensively and defensively. She does not make very many mistakes in games."
Yost recalls the first three-pointer she ever made on varsity came in the post-season during her freshmen year.
"We played Canby and I went in at the end of the game and made one," she said. "I first started shooting and making three-pointers around four or fifth grade, and I remember making my first three-pointer in a game in a tournament when I was in sixth grade. That was also the grade that I began to shoot more and more from the outside."
Success seems to follow Yost. She has been on the varsity volleyball team for five years and the varsity basketball for four years. During that span, the Vikings' volleyball teams have won two state titles in volleyball, were state runners-up twice and the other year there was no state tournament due to the pandemic. In basketball during her years on varsity, Minneota won two state titles and were favored in another before the pandemic cancelled the tournament before the team was headed out for the semifinals.
Against Lakeview on Jan. 31, Yost dropped in a career-high six treys in only 10 attempts. The school record is 10 by Claire Kopfmann against Canby in 2007-08.
"To develop my shot from the outside, I have done different things," she explained, when asked what she has done to develop such good accuracy.
"I would shoot a lot during the summer because we had a basketball court in our backyard. When shooting, I like to look at the front of the rim for my aim. I try to make sure I get enough arc on my shot, and I have worked on developing a quicker shot this past year. I also make sure to put enough spin on the ball, so my shot is not flat. I make sure I am squared up and have my hands and feet ready to shoot so I can catch and release."
As with most long-range shooters, Yost has nights when she is "feeling it" and other nights when it feels like nothing is going to go in.
"What helps spark me is making the first one I shoot," she said. "There are some nights when I am off, and it seems like nothing goes in. But there are other nights when I make one or two and that's when I start to feel it more."
Yost, the daughter of Darin and Deb Yost, is planning to attend Augustana University in Sioux Falls next fall and major in Psychology and minor is something else. She also is planning on being the manager for the volleyball team but will not play any sports.
Minneota unofficial percentage leaders for players with a minimum of 100 three-point baskets made (three-point statistics were not available prior to the 2000-01 season). The three-point line was introduced for Minnesota high school basketball for the 1987-88 season.
1. McKenna Yost...................... .408
2. Claire Kopfmann................... .403
3. Morgan Hennen................... .392
4. Ashley Hennen..................... .386
5. Abby Hennen........................ .373
6. Hayley Hennen..................... .370
7. Emily Stienessen................... .367
8. Taya Kockelman.................... .350
9. Kelsey Hennen...................... .348