Coach memory: Ihnen scoring record was for all to share
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Globe is running a semi-regular sports feature reliving area coaches’ favorite coaching memories. We encourage all area coaches to submit their stories to firstname.lastname@example.org . They will be reprinted in The Globe sports section. Today we have a submission from Minnesota West Lady Jays basketball coach Rosalie Hayenga-Hostikka.
I think a coaching memory that sticks out more than any other, for me, would be one with the LadyJay basketball team of 2017. We only had seven girls on this team which went on to win our first Southern Division championship in 25 years and later lost in double overtime in the region championship game.
We were playing Vermilion Community College on a particular night. We were honestly a much better team, and basically from the opening tip off we took control of the game.
There happened to be a couple of players on the Vermilion team that were particularly good at talking trash during the game. At halftime I found out about some of the things that had been said on the court and one in particular that was directed toward my center Katherin Ihnen that was not particularly flattering. I am not able to quote the words that were used, but let’s just say that some of this trash talk certainly fired up the team.
We proceeded to get a 30-point lead against them in the fourth quarter and, with only seven girls on the roster, we obviously had to keep a few of the starters in the game. Katherin was our workhorse that year and was our leading scorer, so with about four minutes left in the game I was prepared to take her out of the game for good.
It was when I was putting in my sub for her that my assistant coaches Kristen Andersen and Tanner Gunnink told me that Katherin had 36 points and that I should leave her in to get 40. Typically I would feel a little guilty about trying to do this, but in light of some of the things that were being said on the court I didn’t feel too bad about leaving her in to get the 40 points.
When she reached the 40-point mark I then proceeded to put a sub in for her. As I was putting this player in, she said that I should leave Katherin in to get to 44.
You see, we often play this game in practice that whenever someone hits their number (say No. 10 hits the 10th shot in a shooting drill or No. 33 scores the 33rd point) we all go crazy. So Katherin was No. 44 and her teammate didn’t want me to take her out until she scored the 44th point for No. 44.
Well, Katherin was going crazy on the court that afternoon, so when she scored her 44th point I turned to the bench and was going to have them now sub in for her. At this point someone in the crowd had realized that the school record for points in a game was 46. There was a timeout called then, and in the timeout her teammates said that I had to leave her in, and they made a decision as a team that no one was going to shoot the ball except for Katherin.
There wasn’t a player on that team that was going to listen to me at that point and sub in for her. She proceeded to score 48 points and break the 30-year-old record for points in a game.
The atmosphere in the gym and on our team was electric, and that carried over into our locker room.
Now, I typically am not a big fan of individual records, nor celebrating or worrying about what individuals do on the court, but this particular night sticks out in my mind, because for one moment in time I had six players who were truly truly happy for the success of their teammate. So often in this world we see people wanting to bring others down to build themselves up and we see jealousy when someone gets too much glory or press, but in that locker room that particular afternoon there were 10 people who were legitimately crying tears of joy for the success of their teammate.
There wasn’t one person in there that didn’t truly feel like they were a huge part of this record, and I remember Katherin saying that she wished that we could put all of their names on the record because she couldn’t have done it without them.
It was a moment where I was as proud of a group of young ladies as I could ever be and I will forever remember the love that Emily Haubrich, M’Kayla Mike, Alex Stanley, Andrea Hinkeldey, Ashlyn Wabeke and Avery Van Roekel had for their teammate that afternoon.