Sleepy Eye senior Madi Heiderscheidt catches teams off guard.
The smooth point guard is predominantly a righthander. The only thing Heiderscheidt actually does lefthanded is shoot the ball.
“She will shoot 8- and 9-footers righthanded in games, and make them, too,” Sleepy Eye coach Ryan Hulke said. “Going to her right is sometimes better.”
It brings a smile to Heiderscheidt’s face whenever she hears the opposition yelling, “Make her go right! Make her go right!”
“That’s actually my stronger hand,” Heiderscheidt said. “I’ll go that way.”
So how did she become a lefthander?
“My mom says my dad forced me to shoot lefthanded,” Heiderscheidt said. Her father, Shane, is the school’s boys’ basketball coach.
It paid off. Heiderscheidt averaged 19 points per game in the Indians’ three Class 1A tournament games. She shot 43 percent from the field despite struggling in a 57-33 loss to Lyle/Pacelli in the championship game (eight points on 2-for-10 shooting), and 77 percent from the free-throw line.
“Madi’s proven she is an all-state player,” Hulke said.
Titles as player, coach
St. Paul-raised Kiara Buford joked she didn’t know where Cooper High School was until she met former Hawks standout Rodney Williams when the two played college basketball for the Gophers.
Buford, in her fourth year leading Cooper’s program, became the second person in Minnesota girls’ basketball history to win a state championship as a player and coach. She follows Lisa (Walters) Sukalski, who won as a player at Henderson in 1983 and as coach at St. Michael-Albertville in 2001.
Buford won two titles with St. Paul Central (2007, 2008).
DAVID LA VAQUE
Thiesen hoop genes
Sauk Centre senior guard Maesyn Thiesen is 2018 Miss Basketball finalist. She definitely has a family history of basketball excellence.
Her grandfather is Gary Gillis, who coached Storden-Jeffers to five state tournaments from 1988 to 1993, including the 1989 Class 1A championship. He also coached Red Rock Central to the state tournament in 1994, 1998 and 1999.
The 1989 Storden-Jeffers team was undefeated and featured Heather Gillis, Gary’s daughter and Maesyn’s mother. Heather still holds the state tournament record for consecutive field goals made, nine, which she did in the 1989 tournament.
“She was definitely a good shooter,” Thiesen said. “Now she just laughs all the time when we try to play.”
But could Heather make nine in a row against her daughter?
“Not on me,” Thiesen said with a laugh. “Nope.”
Rematch with revenge
Sauk Centre and Roseau, the Class 2A finalists, have played four times in the past three seasons, three of them in the state tournament.
Roseau won the first two meetings, a 94-82 victory in the 2016 Class 2A third-place game and 75-64 in the 2017 championship game.
Sauk Centre defeated Roseau 80-70 in December this season before its 63-52 victory in the final Saturday.
It was the season-ending matchup the Sauk Centre players wanted.
“Since we lost to them two years in a row in the state tournament, it was good revenge for us to get them back,” senior guard Kelsey Peschel said.