Numbers. One season left. One state championship to win. Alliance High senior basketball player Mason Hiemstra knows his team can be there to cut the net in March.
A son of educators and athletes, Hiemstra follows the sports tradition of parents Randy and Angie Hiemstra. Both played basketball in high school. The AHS standout said he became interested in the sport because of his dad who played in college at Dakota Wesleyan then Northern State in Aberdeen, S.D. “He’s taught me everything until high school about the game,” Hiemstra said of his dad, “and he’s still teaching me more stuff. He’s the one that really got me into it. … My mom, yah, she supports me a bunch and both my parents do a lot, and I’m very thankful for that.”
Throughout the 2018-19 season Hiemstra has often led all scorers at the end of each game averaging more than 20 points. At the of January he also had over six rebounds, four assists and three steals on average per contest. Before practice last Wednesday he said personal statistics are something he’s aware of yet are more of a measuring stick to review after a season or even a particular game.
On the field, court or track Hiemstra stands out precisely because he never tries to. The three-sport athlete takes practice and preparation seriously. At 5-foot-11 and 155 pounds stature is not his main attribute. But, watch him hold a friend back from a fight in a game or concentrate driving the lane and that speaks louder than words.
About his senior season, Hiemstra’s favorite part has been, “Just getting to play with my friends one last time and getting to experience all the fun times that we have on the bus and on the road and at all the home games.”
Asked about highlights so far, he quickly listed beating Scottsbluff at home. That win ended a long drought against the Bearcats. After their Feb. 1 meeting the Bulldogs are 1-2 in this season’s series and will next see their rivals in subdistrict play where a trip to state and seeding there will be on the line.
Asked about his contribution to the team, Hiemstra said he brings leadership while also expecting a lot from his teammates. “I know what they can do, so I push them to the best of their ability. Because I know they can go a little higher than they think they can go …”
The Bulldogs have had a successful season closing in on the end of their regular season. This Friday Alliance heads to Rapid City Christian, who beat their only common opponent — Chadron, last week. Both the South Dakota school and Brush, Colo., at home Saturday are new additions to the boys’ schedule.
Motivation for his final high school basketball season, and sports in general, is the same for Hiemstra. “(It is) just being the best I can be and the best leader I can be in anything. I just stay focused on the task at hand, making it to state playoff for football, and right now its trying to get to Pinnacle Bank Arena in early March, and when track comes around it will be getting to Omaha Burke in late May.”
As a sophomore Hiemstra and the Bulldogs made state basketball, one of the main things he looks back on over the past three and a half seasons.
“I just try to do whatever it takes to win, that’s about it,” he said.