by Eric Oslund
What a senior season it has been for Elk River guard Gabi Haack. First, she was named one of the captains of her team, she broke the school’s single-game scoring record by putting up 45 points against Moorhead on Jan. 28, she helped lead her team to their third-straight conference championship and to a 26-0 regular season record.
The Elks were then given the No. 1 seed in the section tournament, won all three of their games, and advanced to the state tournament for the first time since 2006.
“I couldn’t ask for a better senior season,” Haack said. “I’m also shocked with how well we’ve done this season, not losing a game in the regular season. It’s kind of crazy, I’ve never had that before in my varsity experience. That was a big thing. Then being named the conference champs for the third year in a row – that was another one of my big goals this season.”
Haack has been the go-to player for the Elks all season long: averaging 26.1 points per game in the regular season (17.0 in the section playoffs), 6.7 rebounds per game, 2.7 assists per game and 1.6 steals per game.
Those stats have led to multiple accolades, which include being a Miss Basketball nominee, the Gatorade Player of the Year for Minnesota, and the Star Tribune’s Metro Player of the Year. She continues to get more and more surprised with each new award and nomination because she does not view herself as they type of player that would be getting these awards.
“I’m kind of shocked still. It’s kind of crazy,” she said when asked about her Gatorade POY award. “I’ve never really thought of myself as one of those big-time players that would get it. In the past it’s been like Taylor Koenen and she’s going to North Carolina, or it was like Madi Guebert that got it. I just never really put myself at their level I guess. I’m really honored to have gotten it.”
While the things that Haack is able to do on the court continue to impress and wow everyone who watches her, it’s what she does off the court that really make her special. She continues to put school first – recording a 3.82GPA – and continues to give back to the community by helping out with the Elk River girls basketball youth programs.
“Doing well in school is a huge priority. That comes before basketball. You have to do well in school in order to play basketball, so it’s always been a big thing of mine to do well in school, get all my homework done and succeed in the classroom,” she explained. “I volunteer a lot with the Elk River girls basketball youth and did some camps with them. I really like giving my time to teach the younger girls and giving them a role model to look up to because I know when I was their age I really looked up to the girls varsity basketball team and I just want to be a good role model for them.”
Haack is also a regular attendee at her church, and also tries to make FCA meetings whenever possible.
The 2016-17 season has truly been one to remember for the Elks, and Haack is a big reason for that, but it’s not done yet. They begin their state tournament run against White Bear Lake on Tuesday, March 14, as they continue their quest to close the year out with a state title.