Hayfield girls are on a roll

Published 11:59 pm Friday, January 1, 2010

HAYFIELD — The Vikings are off to a familiar start and they’re hoping to continue their trip down memory lane as the season continues.

Hayfield’s girls basketball team has won its first 10 games and the start has the team recalling its squad that advanced to state and took fourth in Class ‘AA’ in 2008. Three starters — senior guards Renee Stier and Jordyn Krekling and senior center Kiley Severson —were starters as sophmores on that squad and four of Hayfield’s five starters this year played significant minutes for that team.

“The beginning of that year went really good and it’s pretty much the same team,” Krekling said. “We’ve been playing together forever and it feels a lot like the team that went to state and we’re hoping to get back.”

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The team in 2008 gave eventual Class ‘AA’ Albany a good fight, but couldn’t hold on in the last few minutes of a 52-50 loss that season. That Albany squad was stacked with seniors who had played together a long time.

“I definitely see ourselves being like (Albany was that year). They were close and they knew where everybody was all the time,” Severson said. “It was tough for us that year because we had a different range of people playing and we weren’t as comfortable as them.”

This year, the Vikings have a tight-knit senior group and all five starters are seniors. They’ve played together since the fourth grade, they spend a lot of time together off the court and they’re confidence is high.

“We mesh well together and we all know where each other’s going to be at any given moment,” Stier said. “We’re working better as a team than we did last year and the year before that even.”

Shutting teams down

Hayfield’s calling card has always been it’s defense and this year is no different. Though they have yet to play any of the powerhouse teams in the Hiawatha Valley League, the Vikings are allowing a stingy 30.8 points per game this season as their full court pressure has shut teams down.

“Defense wins games for us. We’re just looking to deny the ball and get steals,” said senior guard Kayla Garness. “We have a lot of fun on defense.”

The Viking defensive front starts with senior point guard Beth Felten, whose job is to harass the opposing point guards into miscues and set the stage for the rest of Hayfield’s defenders to pick off cross court passes.

“Beth adds so much to our team,” Hayfield head coach Fred Kindschy said. “She’s so quick and solid and she frustrates everybody. She makes it a tough night for the other point guard.”

While Felten, Krekling, Stier and Garness cover the perimeter, Severson, who is 6-1, fills up the lane and makes life tough for anyone looking to drive.

“Kiley’s our anchor and she helps us out back there,” Felten said.

Converting for scores

While Hayfield’s defense does set up a lot of easy scores on the other end, the Vikings are starting to become more proficient on the offensive end in the half court. They’re averaging 52.6 points per game and have scored 60 or more five times this season.

“The flow of the game is better (than last year) and we all know where we should be on offense. We’re passing a lot better and finding each other,” Krekling said.

Hayfield gets most of its offense from Krekling and Severson, who are both 1,000-point scorers, but they have plenty of other capable gunners as well.

Still a lot to prove

The Vikings may have 10 straight wins, but they’ve yet to play an elite squad. They’ll have their chance over the coming week when they play at La Crescent (8-1 overall) Tuesday and at New Richland/H/E/G (7-3 overall) Saturday.

“We’ve yet to be tested and we’ve got the tough part of our schedule left. We’re really looking forward to it,” Kindschy said. “We’ll know a lot more about how good we are in a month from now than what we know now.”

The HVL will provide Hayfield with plenty of tests later in the season as they will play Kasson/Mantorville (9-2 overall), Winona Cotter (6-2 overall), Stewartville (7-3 overall) and Rochester Lourdes (7-1 overall).

Plenty of


Hayfield was feeling good about it’s chances last year until it NRHEG ended a 36-33 win over the Vikings with a 12-2 run in the Subsection 2AA title game.

“I think last year left a bad taste in their mouth,” Kindschy said. “We thought we had a better team than what we played up to. We didn’t feel like we played our best ball at the end of the year and that left them a little hungry, which is good.”

Hayfield, which is ranked No. 4 in Class ‘AA’, has also embraced the role of favorites. Severson said the squad knows that everyone is gunning for them and they aren’t intimidated.

“There’s always going to be a target on our back and we have to play up to our potential every night,” she said.

If Hayfield does that, it could like 2008 all over again.