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Nordeen breaks school career rebounds record

During the Jan. 19 game at Escondido High School, the Fallbrook High School girls basketball career rebounds record was broken by current senior Claire Nordeen.

Between 1982 and 1984, Kristy Seidel pulled down 1,145 rebounds on behalf of Fallbrook High School. Nordeen surpassed that figure during the Warriors’ 61-31 victory in Escondido.

“I’m very proud to get the school rebound record. It means a lot,” Nordeen said. “Breaking a record that stood so long is super special to me.”

“She’s a once in a lifetime player,” said Fallbrook coach Trae Harrison.

The coronavirus shutdown delayed the start of the 2020-21 basketball season, when Nordeen made the Fallbrook varsity as a freshman, and the delay also created an overlap between the girls volleyball and basketball seasons so Nordeen missed the Warriors’ initial basketball games due to her volleyball activity.

In her first game on April 7, 2021, she pulled down nine rebounds during the Warriors’ 74-23 win at Orange Glen. Fallbrook reached the CIF Division III final that year and participated in the state playoffs. During her 24 games that season, Nordeen had 98 offensive and 158 defensive rebounds for a total of 256. As a freshman her single-game best was 27 rebounds in the Warriors’ 50-37 league triumph at home against San Pasqual.

Nordeen’s sophomore season included the Warriors winning the CIF San Diego Section Division II championship and participating in the state playoffs. During 2021-22 Nordeen had 271 rebounds consisting of 142 offensive and 129 defensive boards in 28 games. Her season high was 17 in the Warriors’ 49-11 win at Avalon High School.

The 373 rebounds Nordeen obtained during the 27 games she played in her 2022-23 junior year consisted of 179 offensive and 194 defensive grabs. She pulled down at least 20 rebounds in a game five times, including during the Warriors’ 68-32 playoff victory at Grossmont. In both the playoff game and the 37-34 home loss to Mission Vista, she had at least 10 offensive and 10 defensive rebounds; her 28 rebounds against Mission Vista were 13 offensive boards and 15 defensive grabs.

Nordeen had three 20-rebound games as a senior prior to breaking Seidel’s school record. The 55-40 tournament win Nov. 20 against San Marcos included 13 offensive and 12 defensive rebounds for a total of 25. She had seven offensive and 22 defensive boards for a total of 29 Dec. 28 in the Warriors’ 55-29 tournament win over Cerritos. Fallbrook’s 68-15 league win Jan. 12 at home against Ramona included Nordeen obtaining 16 defensive and six offensive rebounds for a total of 22.

The Jan. 19 game began with Nordeen having accumulated 1,140 career rebounds. She was unaware of how close she was to breaking Seidel’s school record. Ten defensive and four offensive rebounds that night gave her 14 for the game and 1,154 for her career.

“Afterwards I found out and I couldn’t believe it,” Nordeen said of breaking the school record.

Nordeen’s freshman sister, Grace, was the leading rebounder that night with 21 pulldowns consisting of 13 defensive and eight offensive ones. The younger Nordeen entered the game as the 2023-24 team leader in rebounds. Fallbrook junior Janice Garcia had eight rebounds against the Cougars and entered the game with more than 100 boards for the season.

Setting the school record with teammates also obtaining a significant number of rebounds made the achievement more significant for Nordeen. “It’s super special to have people like Janice and Grace to be down low with me helping out. One more rebound is another possession we can have that helps us win games,” Nordeen said.

As a team Fallbrook had 48 rebounds Jan. 19. The Warriors captured 32 Escondido missed shots while recovering 16 of their own unsuccessful attempts.

Grace Nordeen had 29 points that night; Garcia scored 13 points; Claire Nordeen contributed nine points; freshman Emery Pizzo sunk baskets worth a total of six points, and freshman Taylor Thomas had Fallbrook’s other four points. The Warriors made 25 of 60 field goal attempts, including four of 14 from behind the three-point arc, and four of seven free throw shots.

“We struggled making layups,” Harrison said.

The Warriors also committed 25 turnovers against the Cougars.

“The game in hindsight was closer than the score,” Harrison said. “We didn’t play very well that game, but we figured it out.”

Each of the Nordeen sisters had five assists and Pizzo dished out three assists. Claire Nordeen had four steals with Garcia and Pizzo each recording three steals. Garcia had five blocked shots with the other four starters each blocking one shot.

Harrison has been Fallbrook’s coach for the past four seasons. “She never tires. She never gives up,” he said of Nordeen. “She adds a whole different element of work ethic to that team.”

Nordeen was also on Fallbrook’s girls volleyball varsity team for all four of her high school years, and Harrison noted that her attitude-based contributions to Fallbrook athletics include her volleyball seasons.

Organized basketball for Nordeen began with the Boys and Girls Club when she was in third grade. Nordeen attended Bonsall Elementary School and Sullivan Middle School prior to her four years at Fallbrook High School. She would like to major in engineering during her college years and also hopes to play a sport in college, although she has not yet decided whether she will be playing volleyball or basketball.

The win over Escondido would be followed by six subsequent league victories, giving the Warriors the Valley League championship and an undefeated league record. “Winning the Valley League championship is something I’m really proud of,” Nordeen said.

Seidel’s 1,145 career rebounds ranked third in CIF San Diego Section history at the time of her graduation and 17th all-time entering the 2023-24 season. Nordeen has not met Seidel or any of the other early 1980s Fallbrook players, but the same CIF record book which included Seidel’s career rebounds among the all-time top 20 players also noted Fallbrook’s 10 consecutive league championships between 1974 and 1983, the Warriors’ 42 consecutive wins in 1982 and 1983, and Fallbrook’s CIF Class 3A championship in 1982.

“It’s super cool to have history like that here in Fallbrook,” Nordeen said.

Fallbrook’s only other girls basketball CIF championship was in 2022. The Warriors won the Valley League championship that year and were also the league champions in 2021.

“We’ve really had a great last four years of Fallbrook basketball,” Nordeen said.

Author Bio

Joe Naiman, Writer

Joe Naiman has been writing for the Village News since 2001


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