McKenna Hofschild passed the ball during practice. [LEILA NAVIDI / email@example.com]
McKenna Hofschild is small in stature. That doesn’t prevent her from being the driving force behind the Prior Lake’s girls’ basketball program.
The 5-2 guard, an inch shorter than her roster height, is closing in on 2,000 career points with a year left in her high school career. She is the school’s all-time leading scorer, with 1,799 points.
“I’m 5-3 on a good day,” a joking and smiling Hofschild said.
She averaged 27.3 points and five assists per game during the regular season. The Lakers finished with a 13-13 record and earned the No. 3 seed in the Class 4A, Section 2 tournament.
“McKenna is one of the most talented players that I have seen in my 20 years of coaching,” Lakers coach Mike Gidley said. “She is a pure scorer.”
Hofschild does more than just score. She also averages five rebounds, five assists and three steals per game in one of the toughest conferences (South Suburban) in the state.
“I love to rebound,” Hofschild said. “People don’t expect that since I’m short, but it’s a big deal for me.”
Gidley will put Hofschild’s vertical jump against any player in the state.
“McKenna has an incredible vertical,” Gidley said. “I’ve seen her block the shots of big post players. She might be tiny, but she is explosive.”
Hofschild started making a significant contribution to the Lakers’ varsity program as an eighth-grader. She was thrust into the starting lineup her freshman season.
“I trusted her as an eighth-grader, and she has had the keys to the car since her ninth-grade season,” Gidley said. “It’s nice because she is an extension of me on the court.”
This season has been a little different than the previous ones for Hofschild. She has been counted on to provide more leadership. The Lakers have only one senior on their roster.
“Being the floor general this year has been a lot of fun,” Hofschild said. “I’m vocal, but encouraging, too. I want to get the best out of our team.”
She understands from personal experience what her younger teammates are going through. There are four freshman and two sophomores on the Lakers’ roster.
“I learned a lot from the older girls taking me under their wing,” Hofschild said. “The high school game is a lot faster and more physical. I had to make adjustments.”
Gidley has witnessed that on a yearly basis.
“She gains more confidence and becomes more aggressive each and every year,” Gidley said. “She is tenacious and very competitive.”
The lefthander has always had the speed and shiftiness to weave her way in and out of defenders. She can beat them off the dribble going hard to the basket or bury a three-pointer. Her fearlessness more than makes up for any size disadvantage.
“I have a high motor and don’t wear down,” Hofschild said. “Height really doesn’t make a big difference at the end of the day.
“I enjoy being my height. It’s unique.”
So is Hofschild.
Ron Haggstrom • 612-673-4498