KINGSLEY, Iowa | Addison Hirschman has a mean-looking face when she’s going after the rebound.
It doesn’t matter if it’s an offensive board or one of the defensive variety. Determination triggers the 6-foot-2 Kingsley-Pierson senior post to want the ball that caroms off the board.
No wonder the Sioux City Journal’s Siouxland Athlete of the Week has collected 28 point/rebound double-doubles over the course of her four-year career, six which have occurred this season. Hirschman has three of them in the last five games and overall, averages 17.9 points and 7.8 rebounds for the state’s fifth-ranked Class 1A squad, which takes an 18-2 record into Tuesday night’s home regional tournament quarterfinal game against MMCRU.
“The last few games, my rebounding has improved,” said the 17-year-old daughter of Don and Bobbi Hirschman of Kingsley, a three-year starter and one of the squad’s six seniors hoping to reach the state tournament for the third straight year.
In fact, the South Dakota State basketball recruit has recorded two double-doubles in three state tournament games.
“Coach has gotten on me for using my height and using my strength,” said Hirschman. “Rebounding, honestly when I go up for a rebound, I have the ugliest face like a bear because I want it. That’s just my mentality. I’m bigger than most girls, so there’s no excuse for not getting it.”
Hirschman was unaware of her double-double total which goes a long ways into showing the unselfish athlete she is. Actually, one of her classmates, 5-8 Bri Jensen (16.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg) had 24 points and 10 rebounds in Saturday’s 64-52 regular-season finale win over Westwood the same night that her taller teammate provided 15 points and eight boards.
“Addison goes strong for the rebound,” said Kingsley-Pierson Coach Nicole Goodwin. “She may not always box out the best. Rebounding is hard work. You have to go hard. If all five are boxing out, someone’s going to get the rebound. She works hard. She’ll be the first one to say she failed at boxing out. Self-evaluation makes her a better person.”
Rebounding is among the roles for Hirschman, who has career averages of 15.3 points and 8.3 rebounds for teams that in the last four seasons have combined for an 85-9 record.
The school’s career five-player scoring leader with 1,411 points has finished with double-digit scoring averages in each season. As a freshman when she played primarily as a reserve, she averaged 10.4 points and 8.5 rebounds.
One of the things Goodwin stressed when Hirschman first came onto the varsity season is aggressively taking the ball to the basket instead of playing with her back to it.
“She has done a ton of working on ball handling,” said Goodwin. “Growing up tall, you’re like a stick under the basket, but you still need to learn how to ball handle. She’s taken herself to be a better passer and a better ball handler. She likes to face the basket.”
Ball handling is a must if Hirschman faces double-team situations or serves as a press breaker on defense. The squad’s leader with 28 blocked shots is also one of six with at least 25 steals for a defense that allows an average of 39.8 points per game.
“You can’t have an off night on defense,” said Hirschman. “Defense is something Coach always talks about with us. We make each other better as teammates and that’s what I’m thankful for. You see a lot of teams that have one outstanding player, but our team has so many assets.
“We make each other better. We’re unselfish. It is so much fun playing with these girls. I hope we go out with a bang this year.”
Hirschman and Jensen (83 steals, 45 assists), a Grand View basketball recruit, are joined in the starting lineup by another senior classmate, 5-4 Bradi Harvey (7.6 ppg, 62 assists, 72 steals). Harvey, incidentally, is a Morningside College softball recruit.
Rounding off the starting five are 5-8 sophomore Jayde Barto (10.9 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 53 steals, 44 assists) and 5-8 junior Madison Goodwin (5.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 49 assists), the daughter of the head coach.
Nick Gaes, Alta/Aurelia.... Currently ranked fourth among Class 1A 220-pounders by The Predicament, the undefeated junior pinned both of his opponents while winning the district title at Manson.
Austin Rozeboom, Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley.... The fourth-ranked (2A) senior qualified for his fourth state tournament appearance, winning the 145-pound district championship at Sioux Center.