Pouring it on: Stasko’s 40-point night shows depth of Vikings

Published 7:17 pm Monday, December 20, 2021

HAYFIELD — There aren’t a lot of teams in the state who have a player scoring 40 points on a given night.

There are even fewer teams that can get 40 points in one game from their third leading scorer. The Hayfield girls basketball team showed off its depth last week when senior Aine Stasko put up a career-high 40 points in a 93-31 win over Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton. Stasko, whose previous career best was 25 points, lit up the scoreboard by going nine-for-10 on threes.

“I was kind of just throwing them up and they just went in,” Stasko said. “After the first one went in, it felt good. I didn’t know how many points I had until (head coach) Kasey (Krekling) told me I had 37 and I had a chance to get to 40. I made the next one and I came out of the game. It was fun, but it was weird, because I was open way more than I thought I would be.”

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Stasko usually plays the role of playmaker for the Vikings, but this season she’s brought her game to a new level. After shooting just nine percent on three-pointers last season, Stasko spent the summer working with her brother, who coaches Hayfield’s junior high team, and her grandpa to fix her shooting form.

The results have spoken for themselves and Stasko’s emergence is even made even more impressive, considering that she skipped first grade and has always played a level up. Stasko is actually just four months older than Hayfield standout sophomore point guard Kristen Watson.

Krekling said Stasko’s offense is valuable, but her defense gives the team an extra edge.

“She’s been instrumental in our defensive press. She reads things from the back end and she anticipates,” Krekling said. “For a post player with long arms to be able to do that, you can’t really replace that. We wish she hadn’t skipped that grade so we could have her for another year. She is extremely smart and things come to her naturally.”

The Vikings (8-0 overall) are off to a scorching start, winning every game by at least 25 points. Hayfield has much of its roster back from last season, when the Vikings went 14-7 and won a pair of playoff games. 

This year, the team is hoping to push even harder towards a postseason run.

“We all work well together and none of us are worried about our own stats,” Stasko said. “We all really want to go as far as we can. Most of us have had varsity minutes before this year and we all want to get further. Our new defense is really working. We force a lot of ten second calls, which are deflating for our opponents and motivating for us.”

Krekling knows the Vikings aren’t going to have very many nights where a player hits 40, but he does feel that the team has a balanced lineup that can share the wealth.

“We have so many options and so many plays that we run for different girls that anybody can lead us in scoring on a given night,” Krekling said. “When our third leading scorer can score 40, we’re a pretty dangerous team.”

Stasko has excelled in the classroom and her plans are to study Biology at either Creighton University in Nebraska or the University of Denver in Colorado next year. 

Hayfield will host Maple River at 7:15 p.m. Thursday.