St. Ansgar freshmen Hali Anderson made school history during Friday night’s game vs the West Fork Warhawks. Hali has had an outstanding season for the Saints, especially on the defensive end of the court, paving way for her to set the new St. Ansgar record for steals in a season with 80 after Friday’s game with West Fork was all said and done.
“I was definitely excited when I first found out,” said Hali. “But there is still more games to play so I put it behind me and moved onto the next game.”
To set the new school record, Hali beat out three other players that had been in a tie for holding the record. The most recent player to have tied for the record was Rachel Hannam in 2004 with 76 steals in one season. Cari Cimmiyotti had 76 steals in 2003, and Kim Shoars set the pace at 76 in 2000. So how does that make Anderson feel to be able to beat their old record? “It makes me feel great and that I’m doing something right when I’m playing,” said Hali. “I’ve worked hard to get to something like this.”
St. Ansgar’s two coaches Brian Birkedal and Jeff Anderson, who also happens to be Hali’s father, have some high praise for the freshmen doing some big things for the Saints this season.
“She sets her goals high and it has been fun to coach both Hali and Jadyn this season,” said assistant coach Jeff Anderson. “But she really set that goal high and she accomplished that and she hopes to continue onto that goal and break some other records.”
“Well I think it just goes back to the process where she is really focused in on being a good defender,” said head coach Brian Birkedal. “She anticipates really well, she’s watching all the time trying to find opportunities to steal the pass or steal a crossover. She puts herself in great positions and waits for the right opportunity and goes and gets it and that has been huge for us this season. Another part too, and I think she would agree with this, is that our whole team has been playing really good defense where it puts her in position to get some of those steals.”
Hali has three full more seasons to play for St. Ansgar basketball, so what does coach Birkedal expect to see from her in the future as a Saint? “More of the same that she’s done this year,” said Birkedal. “She’s a really good defender and she can be put on anyone on the court. She obviously scores really well too. You can tell that she has played a lot of basketball and has really been a student of the game and is a really knowledgeable freshmen.”
Since Friday night’s game, Hali has added 7 more steals to her already school record. She currently has 87 steals on the season, with one more game to be played in the regular season against Newman Catholic on Friday night.
As for Hali knowing that her name will be in the school record book, she was a little speechless, simply saying, “It’s awesome.”