Rantoul's Wascher makes history
RANTOUL — Upon entering Rantoul High School, Hannah Wascher wasn’t quite sure how her basketball career with the Eagles would pan out.
Four years later, it’s easy to describe how the senior forward’s four-year career will live in the history books.
One of the program’s best.
Wascher established Rantoul’s all-time career scoring record during Monday night’s 61-54 loss to Corn Belt Conference rival Mahomet-Seymour.
Wascher scored 25 points to bump her four-year total to 1,602. She eclipsed 1998 graduate Yolanda Smith’s previous record of 1,596 points with 22.6 seconds left in the third quarter. Her younger sister, sophomore forward Logan Wascher, deflected a Mahomet-Seymour pass before her big sister picked up the loose ball.
Hannah Wascher dribbled the remaining 60 feet of open floor before finishing the fast break with a two-handed layup to give her 1,598 points and the Eagles a 44-39 lead.
“I just took it and went,” she said. “I thought I’d get out of control or something because my ball-handling skills aren’t really that great, but I was just going to plow over anybody that got in my way. I got there and had to slow myself down. I was just thinking, ‘OK, this better go in.’ I can’t even think of words to describe it other than it was a really good feeling.”
A brief stoppage in play ensued after Wascher broke the record.
Wascher — who added 19 rebounds — now has had six consecutive games with 20 points or more, and in the Eagles’ 19 games this season, she has eclipsed that mark 13 times. She has only failed to hit double digits once.
“I used to (stink) at basketball,” Wascher said before her junior season began. “I’m not even going to lie. My eighth-grade year, I grew a lot, and I grew into my body.”
She’s now grown into a player future Eagles will try to surpass on the all-time scoring chart. With eight regular season games left before Rantoul hosts a Class 3A regional, Wascher could reach 1,800 career points if she continues to average 23.5 points like she has this season.
Wascher had 14 points and 10 re-bounds in the first half, helped out by an 8-of-12 effort at the free throw line. She didn’t score her first field goal until 2 minutes, 26 seconds remained in the first half, bulling her way to the basket while defended by two Mahomet-Seymour players.
“When we were at halftime, I had (senior forward Kimmy Schwartz) come up to me and say, ‘This is all you need,’ ” Wascher said. “I was so excited. I just couldn’t stop smiling. It means quite a bit to me. I just feel so good that all my hard work has paid off, from reaching 1,000 points to now breaking this record, but I couldn’t do it without all my teammates and all their assists.”
But after she broke the record, Mahomet-Seymour took control of the game.
The Bulldogs went on an 11-0 run during the next four minutes and took advantage at the free throw line. The Bulldogs were 27 of 34 at the foul line, including 22 of 27 in the second half. Junior guard Maggie Schmidt was a driving force for the Bulldogs (11-8, 3-4 Corn Belt) with 26 points that included a 14-for-18 showing at the foul line while senior guard Kristen Belyea added 17 points.
Mahomet-Seymour coach Nathan Seal was pleased with his team’s aggressive approach in the second half and praised Wascher’s efforts for breaking the record.
“We’ve been kind of hit or miss with free throws, but we were able to get the ball inside and attack a little better in the second half to get to the line,” he said. “Obviously that was one of the differences in the game. That’s a great honor for (Wascher). That’s a heck of an accomplishment.”
Rantoul coach Jeff McKaufsky called the night “bittersweet.”
“That’s the word I used in the locker room,” he said. “You’re happy for Hannah with what she accomplished, but very, very upset about the loss, and everyone in the locker room felt the same way.”