Before she even stepped foot on the court for her senior season, Haley Lorenzen already had put together an impressive list of accomplishments.
Lorenzen helped the Little Hawks to the state tournament as a sophomore, earned all-state honors as a junior while lifting City High to the number one ranking in Class 5A, and signed a letter of intent to play at Florida last fall.
Even with the accolades piling up and her future college plans determined, Lorenzen didn’t take her foot off the gas. Instead, she hit the accelerator, turning in the best season of her career as a senior.
“I always focus on trying to improve; I’m never satisfied,” Lorenzen said. “I always think I could have played better in different areas. I’m picking myself apart all the time, which can be good and bad, but I think that’s what keeps me hungry and keeps me wanting to improve so much.”
The 6-foot-3 Lorenzen put the finishing touches on her stellar prep career this winter with an impressive senior campaign.
Lorenzen averaged career highs of 20.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per game while helping City High to a 24-1 record and a berth in the Class 5A state semifinals.
For her accomplishments, Lorenzen has been named the 2014 Press-Citizen girls basketball player of the year.
“She was a very enjoyable girl to coach and somebody that got better each year,” City High coach Bill McTaggart said. “I think a big part of her success is that she loves the sport so much and she worked so hard at it and she has a really bright future.”
Lorenzen emerged as an impact player on both ends of the court as a sophomore, when she averaged 13.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game as City High went 17-7 and reached the state tournament.
Last season, Lorenzen built on those numbers, averaging 18.7 points and 9.2 rebounds per game and helping the Little Hawks climb to number one in the final Class 5A rankings before falling one game short of a return to the state tournament.
Lorenzen committed to Florida following her all-state junior season and signed her letter of intent last fall.
She did more than make a decision on her college plans between her junior and senior seasons. Lorenzen dedicated her offseason workouts to developing her all-around game.
“I worked on being consistent, being a consistent force in all areas on the court,” Lorenzen said. “That doesn’t always mean points necessarily, it just means always being there on the defensive end and being a leader and talking on the floor and just being a leader for my team and encouraging my teammates.”
That worked showed up this season as Lorenzen posted career highs in nearly every major statistical category.
Lorenzen shot a career-best 60 percent from the field this season and made 68 percent of her free throws, another career-high.
Where McTaggart saw the most improvement in his senior center wasn’t in scoring but in the other areas.
Lorenzen handled the constant double and triple teams from opponents with all-time efficiency this season as she averaged 2.4 assists per game while committing her fewest turnovers in the past three seasons.
“She could hit the 15 foot jumper and it was hard to double team when she got that far away from the basket, but I think where she improved the most is passing to the open player when she got double or triple teamed,” McTaggart said. “She’d hit the open girl a lot, and that is one of the reasons why we had such a successful season.”
Lorenzen also became a force on the defensive end of the court, where she led Class 5A in blocked shots, averaging a career-high 3.3 blocks per game while avoiding foul trouble that would take her off the floor.
“I wanted to be a presence on defense, blocking shots and defending the post, but making sure that I stayed out of foul trouble and stayed on the floor to help my team,” Lorenzen said. “I was able to stay out of foul trouble this year, and I worked hard with my shooting coaches on my timing on blocking shots and that really helped this season.”
Lorenzen’s big season helped City High complete an undefeated regular season and reach the state tournament, where the top-ranked Little Hawks were upset by West Des Moines Dowling in the semifinals.
Despite her season ending one game shy of a state championship appearance, Lorenzen says she will remember her senior season for what she was able to accomplish with her teammates, not the disappointing finish.
“It was disappointing the way it ended, but honestly it was a fantastic year,” Lorenzen said. “Being undefeated until the semifinal game of the state tournament, I am going to remember this year for a long time. We accomplished a lot this season.”