The pressure to live up to past family achievements can be an overwhelming chore. The responsibility to reach career milestones that seem to routinely become family heirlooms can be a daunting task.
For Hagen Schaefer, the pressure of scoring 1,000-career points couldn’t have been more real. Her mother Stephanie Schaefer reached the milestone during her playing days. Her aunt, former Shawnee State legendary basketball coach Robin Hagen-Smith, reached the century mark during her high-school career. More recently, her cousin Shane Zimmerman scored 1,000-career points at South Webster. To go along with those three, Schaefer has other aunts and uncles who have reached the milestone during their careers.
However, regardless of the family pressure of living up to expectations, Schaefer has never felt any outside stress of reaching 1,000-career points. The only demands placed on Schaefer are self inflicted.
“I’ve always had those expectations, but not from my parents or relatives, but I’ve always had those of myself,” Schaefer said. “I’ve always tried to live up to a higher standard. I’ve always tried to live up to a higher standard for me. They’ve never put pressure on me, but I place it on myself because I am very goal oriented and I am always pushing myself.”
Regardless of the motivating factor, the goal came to fruition Wednesday night in a 55-25 home victory over St. Joseph. On the opening tip, Schaefer found herself all alone underneath the basket. After she put up the shot and watched the ball bounce around on the rim, the whistles sounded and the buzzers echoed throughout the gymnasium as the ball found its way through the bottom of the net.
“I was stunned,” Schaefer said. “I didn’t realize I was that close. I was overwhelmed with emotion. I was so happy because getting 1,000 points was one of my goals I set for myself when I was a freshman. It’s been something I’ve wanted to get since I was little. It was just really exciting to see the whole crowd go wild. It made me feel really good.”
Titans head coach JD McKenzie said there was no one more deserving.
“It couldn’t happen to a better person or more hardworking young lady,” McKenzie said. “She really deserved this. What I love about her is she is only concerned with winning and not the individual recognition. Her teammates were truly excited for her and that’s awesome to see. This is a special group of girls and Hagen is a special leader. I’m proud to be their coach.”
After averaging 11.1 points per game her freshman season, Schaefer had a good indication she was well on her way to scoring 1,000-career points. However, an injury her sophomore year appeared to derail those plans.
During practice one day, Schaefer suffered a broken metacarpal bone in her pinky finger on her right hand and only played in 12 games that season.
“I was just so overwhelmed with emotions,” Schaefer said. “I was so distraught that I couldn’t play and I thought that I might not get (1,000 points), but at that point I didn’t care if I got it or not, I just wanted to play.
“I love the game so much, I just wanted to play and at that point, it wasn’t even on my mind.”
While the injury was devastating to Schaefer at the time, now that she’s accomplished her goal, she can tell the story of how McKenzie tried to test out his medical knowledge.
“When I went to get the rebound, I heard my bone snap but I thought I just stubbed my finger,” Schaefer said. “I was trying to shake it off and I grabbed the ball. I stopped in the middle of the drill and I said, ‘Oh my gosh, I think there is a dent in the middle of the ball.’”
Her teammates thought she going crazy, so she tossed the ball to the coaches. Then Schaefer looked down at her hand and noticed her pinky finger was pointing sideways.
McKenzie told Schaefer her finger was definitely dislocated and decided to pop the finger back in place.
“He said, ‘Hagen, I had to do this with Sammy Marting all the time. So, Just don’t look and I’m going to try to pop it,’” Schaefer said. “So, I’m like biting my other hand and he’s trying to pop it back. Well, little did he know, we couldn’t pop it back because it was the wrong bone and my hand was broken. So, he was trying to pop it back in place and he might have made it worse, we’re still not sure to this day.”
Since the injury, Schaefer’s goal of scoring 1,000 points had subsided and became a secondary thought as the Titans continued to find success on the hardwood.
“As time’s gone on, it hasn’t been as big a deal to me,” Schaefer said. “I’m one that if I had a choice of getting 1,000 points or winning SOC, I would choose winning SOC 100 times before scoring 1,000 points. I told coach McKenzie that before I graduated, I wanted to win three SOCs in a row and to be the first team at Notre Dame to be able to do that. That really meant a lot to me.”
With her career milestone in the rear-view mirror and her team’s goals still achievable, Schaefer feels honored and blessed to for the support she has received.
“I’m really grateful of all the love and support people have given me. It’s meant a lot,” Schaefer said. “But really, I would like to thank God. Without him, none of this would be possible. I play for him. I give all my glory to him. Without him, I wouldn’t be able to do any of this. He gave me the abilities that I have to achieve this milestone.”