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All-North Div. I girls basketball: Hascheff truly led Huskies to state championship


1:00 AM, Mar. 16, 2013 EDT

Leaders present themselves in many different ways.

A leader can be a facilitator. Or a scorer.

She can inspire with a meaningful speech or through constant hard work.

Simply being the rock everyone else can lean on often works wonders.

Reno High's Gigi Hascheff utilized each technique -- often at the same time -- this season and led the Huskies to their first state championship in 11 years.

The senior led Reno in scoring but also in assists. She handled pressure when opposing teams mistakenly thought it advantageous to employ a full-court press. Her work ethic in practice so obviously served as an example that coaches didn't need to point it out.

She was a quiet leader most of the time. But when she felt it necessary let teammates know what the level of expectation was.

"She pushed you but not to the point where you didn't want to be around her," teammate Shalen Shaw said. "She was very inspirational."

Hascheff's most inspiring moment came in a fit of frustration.

"I'm done talking after this," she told the team following a late-January loss to Bishop Manogue. "I'm on the train to state. You can hop on if you want, or get out of the way if you don't."

Said Shaw: "I wanted to hop on right away. And everyone was on by the next day."

Three weeks later, the Huskies hoisted the championship trophy.

"She stepped up from Day 1 and pushed her team to be better," Huskies coach Shane Foster said.

For her effort, Hascheff is the 2012-13 RGJ All-North Division I Player of the Year.

"You have to make your team believe you're the best," Hascheff said. "You don't start a conversation, 'Hey, you're doing this wrong.' I went around trying to give them confidence so they believed in themselves as much as I believed in them and as much as Foster and the staff believed in us.

"There were good days and bad days. I never wanted to be a person to yell and put down a teammate. Mistakes happen in basketball, especially if you're playing fast. But there were times I got frustrated, but that frustration came from knowing how good we could be.

"I knew we could do it, and I knew with all of our individual skills that nobody out there was better than us. And there were other really good teams. ... There were times where I wondered if we could get over the mental hump. That was always it. It wasn't a lack of skill. It was always our mentality.

"Being the team captain, being one of the only seniors, being the senior returning, I wanted to take things not in my own hands but be the leader of the team and make sure everyone was focused every day and that they understood that we had one goal and that was to win a state championship."

Hascheff also did what was necessary on the court. The Sacramento State-bound point guard averaged 14 points, 5.2 assists, 3.9 steals and 3.7 rebounds per game. She shot 43 percent from the field, including 41 from 3-point range.

Hascheff attempted nearly 100 more field goal attempts than then her next closest teammate. But she didn't attempt a shot in the first half of Reno's state semifinal against Centennial.

"That could have been her best game of the year, and she only scored six points," Foster said. "She knew we needed everyone to win that game, and she did what was needed."

Naturally, Hascheff came out the next night and poured in 20 points as Reno toppled Bishop Gorman for the title.

"It wasn't about the spotlight or proving that we were the best," Hascheff said. "It was just about accomplishing a goal and whatever that goal meant.

"After we won state, we just got to enjoy the moment, everyone together. There are rewards for dedication and hard work."

 

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