Athlete of the Week: Lydia Haack

Senior guard Lydia Haack dribbles the ball during the first half of Elk River's 47-44 overtime loss to Maple Grove on Dec. 17 at Elk River High School. Haack scored her 1,000th career point in the loss and scored a season-high 28 points on Jan. 7 in the Elks' 65-50 win over Park Center.

Elks senior guard Lydia Haack achieved a milestone on Dec. 17 against Maple Grove. In Elk River’s 47-44 loss, she made her 1,000th career point on a 2-point shot. 

Haack said that scoring 1,000 points wouldn’t be possible without putting hours of work during the summer.

“It was exciting to reach that milestone,” Haack said. “It shows that if you put in a lot of hard work in the offseason that it’ll pay off.”

In 2016-17 as a freshman, Haack scored 112 points in 17 regular-season games and played in three postseason games as undefeated Elk River won the Class 4A state championship over Hopkins 64-60 in the championship game on March 18, 2017.

Elks head coach Jeremy Digiovanni said Haack is the ultimate team player.

“She wants to win basketball games no matter what the stats are,” Digiovanni said. “That’s why she’s accomplished so many of the feats that she has in the last four years. She’s one of the most unselfish kids you’ll find on and off the court.”

Haack is trying to step out of the shadow of her older sister, Gabi. The elder Haack was the 2017 Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year and named to the All-Tournament team. Since winning the Class 4A state title three years ago, the Elks have not made it to the state tournament. Maple Grove has ended Elk River’s state tournament aspirations the past two seasons.

Lydia Haack said she loved basketball the minute that she started playing when she was in first grade. Haack models her play after Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, who led the Warriors to NBA titles in 2015, 2017 and 2018.

“I’m a player who likes to share the ball, get other people open shots,” Lydia Haack said. “I’ll also find my own shots if I need to. I like to win, so I do everything I can to help the team be successful.”

This season, Lydia Haack is averaging 16 points and scored a season-high 28 on Jan. 7 against Park Center. Her career-high is 30, which she set on Jan. 25, 2019 in the Elks 66-42 win over Coon Rapids.

Besides providing a scoring touch, Digiovanni said Lydia Haack’s defense has improved since last season.

“That’s a huge credit to her because it makes our team that much tougher,” Digiovanni said. “She knew that was a big area for her to improve on and she worked hard on it all offseason and it’s showing this season. She’s really making it tough for people to go up against her on offense because her defense has gotten so much better. That’s doing what’s best for the team and trying to improve your individual skills to help the team out the best you can.”

When she’s not making clutch 3-pointers for the Elks, Lydia Haack is a member of the Elk River High School chapter of National Honor Society and is proficient in Spanish. During her community service hours, she works with younger Elk River basketball players during camps and clinics.

Senior forward Alexa Engebretson said Haack motivates her teammates to do well academically because academic performance affects their ability to play.

“You have to have good grades in order to play,” Engebretson said. “She knows it affects the team, too.”

With just over half the season remaining, Elk River hopes to make it back to the state tournament for the first time in three years.

Digiovanni said Lydia Haack doesn’t shy away from the big moments.

"That was evident when she was a freshman and playing on the state championship team and stepping into some big spots on a team that was all seniors,” he said. “She didn’t shy away from the spotlight. She wanted the ball in her hands. To this day, I firmly believe that if Lydia wasn’t on our team that year that we don’t go undefeated. We don’t win the state championship without her efforts, even back then as a freshman.”

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