Beach’s powerful trio: Waldal, Stedman, Farstveet lead charge for Buccaneers during past 4 seasons
BEACH — As eighth-graders, Hailee Farstveet, Bailey Waldal and Cid Stedman helped Beach win its third state championship in school history.
However, all three didn’t play at the same time. Farstveet was a full-time varsity player. Waldal, Stedman and Kelcee Dykins — a 2012 Beach High School graduate — rotated in and out, because the team could only dress 14 varsity players.
“We rotated uniforms because we could only dress 14 and we had 15, but I wanted all of them to get playing time because they all worked hard and they were part of the team,” Beach head coach Bob Waldal said. “That was the only way I could do it. It exposed them to some really nice ball players. Down the road, we wanted that tradition to go down the line.
“These seniors are tremendous teammates. They help each other out. They help the younger kids out.”
Those three eighth-graders supplied the groundwork for the Buccaneers over the past four years, which included three straight North Dakota Class B girls state tournament appearances.
Beach hasn’t won a state title since 2010, but Farstveet said she wants to end her high school career the same way her eighth-grade season ended.
“Then we were obviously the underclassmen, so it was a little bit different than it is now,” she said. “Now, we have to step up and be leaders of the team. I just want to go back and do the same thing as our eighth-grade year.”
Being successful for so long, the Buccaneers have high expectations.
Beach wants to get back to the state tournament, but knows playing well in the Region 7 Tournament has to be at the forefront of the team’s mind.
“We’ve been talking that we need to play to get to the state tournament,” Bailey Waldal said. “We can’t take any breaks and we have to work our hardest all the time. There can always be a game that can be an upset. You always have to be ready to play and if you don’t come out ready to play, you don’t know what is going to happen.”
The top-seeded and No. 6-ranked Buccaneers open the Region 7 Tournament against No. 9 seed Hebron-Glen Ullin at 3 p.m. Monday in DHS gymnasium.
Yet, the transition from role players to starters occurred during the 2010 season. Farstveet, Stedman and Waldal practiced day-in and day-out against Buccaneers starters Jill Rising, Abby Weinreis and Brittney Dietz, who averaged 15.5 points per game during the 2013-14 season as a sophomore forward for the University of Mary.
“It was a little intimidating,” Stedman said. “They were a lot bigger than me and it helped me out a lot with gaining confidence, because we got experience with them.”
Beach sophomore guard Brooklyn Zachmann, who also started playing varsity as an eighth-grader, said it has been great to learn from the Farstveet, Stedman and Waldal.
“It has been fun,” Zachmann said. “The team has had really good chemistry and our seniors have been really good leaders.”
Players teaching players
If Bob Waldal could travel back in time to when he was first started coaching, there isn’t much he would change. Expect for one thing — letting players teach other players.
“I should have done that when I was 20 years old,” he said. “It brings leadership on the team and it forces the kids to be leaders and good teammates.”
Waldal is the all-time points leader at Dickinson State with 1,832. He averaged 19.1 points in 96 games. He was also a 1968 seventh-round draft pick of the New York Knicks.
Needless to say, Waldal knows basketball like the back of his hand. So when he dished out criticism during practice, Stedman knows it’s only to make the team better.
“Bob isn’t just teaching basketball,” she said. “He’s teaching life skills. We know by listening to him that he knows what he’s talking about. He’s not just making it up. We all know that when he does critique us that it’s to make us better. He tells that us all time that he wants us to get better as a team not just individually.”
One drill the Buccaneers practice every day is passes around their backs. Waldal said it teaches the players to expect the unexpected, because no two passes are alike.
“Passes can be here, here or here,” he said. “It gives them good hands. It’s about hand-eye coordination.”
Though many teams throughout the state focus on Beach’s big three, Beach also has seniors Paige Rising, Chantel Fulton and Megan Benes, who each see significant playing time.
Waldal said his team wouldn’t be where its at without good coaches at the grade-school level.
“It’s really important to have good coaches down below,” he said. “We’ve always had good coaches. They know the game.
“We could have sixth-grader come in here and they could go through our drills, because they would know them.”
Changing, keeping positions
When Stedman was younger, she was played prominently in the post.
After years of maturing, she has developed an outside game as well. The 5-foot-9 forward-guard can battle down low for a layup or step outside to hit a 3-pointer.
“I started inside and then (coach) told me that I needed to develop my 3-point shot,” she said. “I did and it has always been an easy transition for me, because I’ve learned it so young.”
Farstveet grew up playing point guard and the role hasn’t change during her high school career.
“When I was younger at optimist tournaments, I was small — like really short,” she said with a laugh. “I’ve always had to dribble the ball up the floor and it’s grown on me ever since.”
The 5-9 point guard brought the ball up the floor for the Buccaneers during their state title run in 2010. Waldal said Farstveet has ice in her veins.
“Haliee is a very good ball handler,” he said. “She’s helped lead us to three state tournament and helped us win a state championship. Along the way, she’s had some really good teammates.”
Whether it is during practice, games or outside the basketball court, Bailey Waldal doesn’t acknowledge Bob Waldal as coach.
“I call him grandpa, whether we are at a family dinner or on the basketball court,” Bailey said. “It’s really been fun having my grandpa as a coach and playing now with two of my cousins. It has also brought us closer together as a family.”
Bob is Bailey’s, Farstveet’s and eighth-grader Taryn Hoffer’s grandpa. However, this isn’t the first time Bob has coached family members.
He coached his daughters — Carey, Jackie and Christy — in the late ‘80s to early ‘90s. The Buccaneers won back-to-back state titles in 1989 and 1990.
“It brings us together, otherwise I wouldn’t see them that often, because they are teenagers” he said with a smile. “It seems like when they hit junior high, they are gone, because they are so busy. This is like when I used to coach my daughters. I thanked God every day I had them. It was just a neat experience.
“The only bad thing is that I don’t really get to relax and watch them play. That’s the hard thing. A couple years after I coached my daughters, I sat down and watch some games as a parent.”
Though Stedman isn’t part of the immediate family, Farstveet said she’s more or less a sister.
“Cid is pretty much in our family,” Farstveet said with smile.
Yet, as the three looked out to the Beach practice on Thursday, each said every player is like their sister.
“This whole group has been playing together since we were like third-graders, so the chemistry is there,” Farstveet said. “Hopefully, it just continues to get better.”
Bailey Waldal added: “What’s helped us over the years become a strong team is we don’t rely on one person, we all work as team. If someone is having a good night, we are going to get them the ball. It’s not a selfish team.”