Top Tigers: New England seniors Hanson, Nordby each leading in their own different way
NEW ENGLAND — New England seniors Gabbi Hanson and Hannah Nordby are leaders in their own right.
“It seems like they have great connection with each other,” New England head coach Jason Jung said. “Gabbi is the outside and Hannah is the inside. They have good chemistry and it’s nice to rely on two seniors. They work hand in hand and it’s a nice luxury to have.”
The two not only complement each other in leadership roles, but on the court as well.
Hanson is the main scorer on the perimeter and Nordby is the presence in the post.
“We can shoot and score from anywhere on the court,” said Hanson, who is averages 12.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 3.2 steals per game. “We have a great inside game. We have a great outside game. We have great players all around. We have options, because we have size and we have speed.”
Nordby is averaging a double-double with 13.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. She is shooting 52 percent from the field.
“We have some great outside shooters,” Nordby said. “When we have our inside-outside game going, we are tough to stop.”
Since Hanson and Nordby were sophomores, they have been the go-to players for the Tigers.
Yet Nordby’s experience at the high school level began as an eighth-grader. She was the team’s defensive specialist. The offense — at the time — was handled by all-state guard Jordyn Bender, who is a former women’s basketball player at Dickinson State.
“It was up in Richardton actually,” Nordby said a laugh. “I was a little nervous at first, but that year I just had to focus on playing good defense, because we had Jordyn and she was our superstar. There wasn’t really any pressure on me, but over the years I’ve evolved from being a more defensive minded player to going on the offensive a little bit more.”
From the time Hanson stepped onto the court as a sophomore, she knew she wanted to be a leader. She’s not only a leader, but the Tigers’ sharpshooter beyond the 3-point line. She’s made 52 3-pointers this season.
“I’ve seen myself as a leader since I was a sophomore,” Hanson said. “That’s just a role that I wanted to take on, because I love basketball and I want to let others to see it how I see it and I want them to love it just as much.”
Despite having a combined 27-15 record over the last two years, New England had a less than stellar finish to the 2012-13 season.
The Tigers were the No. 2 seed in the District 13 tournament and lost back-to-back games to keep them out of the Region 7 Tournament. Hanson didn’t want to repeat the experience again.
This year, New England is the No. 4 seed and opens the Region 7 Tournament against No. 5 seed Beulah at 4:30 p.m. Monday at DHS gymnasium.
“We don’t want that to happen,” she said about the 2013 District 13 tournament. “It was really upsetting. We just need to stay strong and finish the season strong. We aren’t going to go out like we did last year.
“We have to go in focused and we can’t overlook any team. We are going to come in with the mindset of playing a normal game.”
Jung said the team had the capability of performing well entering the season, but current results may have surprised the team.
“The key for this team is keeping focus,” he said. “We talk about not only focus from the beginning of the season to the end of the season, but it’s from practice to practice and game to game. Right now, we are focusing on quarter to quarter. It has to be there all four quarters for us.”
Nordby said it’s easy to throw words around, but the Tigers don’t want to be known as just having potential, but for an ability to win.
“Potential is just a word,” she said. “You have to go out there and prove that you can play well and compete with other teams, especially the good teams.”