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Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart's Sara Hansen earns 'Athlete of the Year' honors

Hansen leads Irish to prep hoops title and so much more in 2013-14

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The date was March 11.

The site was Cadillac High School and the setting was a Class D girls basketball quarterfinal between Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart Academy and Frankfort.

On paper the Irish were in the midst of a phenomenal run through districts and regionals as they had won their first four postseason games by an average of 19.8 points.

Yet, this game was supposed to be different in that Frankfort, which came in at 23-1, supposedly had the balance and defensive wherewithal to not only stop the Irish but also potentially beat them soundly.

That was the word on the street at least.

However it took a matter of minutes to see this wasn’t going to happen because the Irish had the one key ingredient that the Panthers lacked in the form of one Sara Hansen.

Frankfort came out looking to trap, deny, press and break the four-year starting SHA point guard but in the end that’s exactly what she did to the Panthers en route to an easy 49-35 victory.

This game proved to be a microcosm of SHA’s eventual run to the Class D state title in that every opponent had to come up with a game plan on how to handle Hansen and not a single one could.

The postseason state title run was something to marvel at in that the Irish were so proficient offensively and so sound defensively that it would have taken a nearly-flawless effort to beat them and in the semifinals and finals neither Marine City Cardinal Mooney nor Crystal Falls Forest Park was up for that kind of challenge.

At the center of all of it was Hansen though, a 5-foot-7 point guard who dictated tempo and turned her four years of experience into a case study of how to run the point guard position.

For years at The Morning Sun we’ve attempted to interview Hansen after games and nine times out of 10 she offers up a couple sentences and kind of fades away into the background because she doesn’t want the limelight. That night in Cadillac was one of those nights where if you wanted quotes on how good she was it was best to seek out SHA head coach Damon Brown or Frankfort coach Tim Reznich.

In a way, Hansen said it all on the hardwood or diamond and she left it there for everyone to mull over.

In mulling over her 2013-14 seasons she earned first-team All-State honors in volleyball, basketball and softball and was named Miss Softball Position Player of the Year by the Michigan High School Softball Coaches Association just a couple weeks back.

She can add Morning Sun ‘Athlete of the Year’ to her many awards now too as she shone like no other female athlete in the state in 2013-14.

“I guess I’m not the most talkative person,” joked Hansen, who will be playing softball at CMU this fall. “For me I just try to set the example, but I have gotten better at talking over the years and being a leader. It was awesome winning a state title, but now that it’s over I will miss playing basketball and volleyball.”

Her senior season started with a bang last fall as she was the setter on Mike Kruscke’s volleyball team which won a fifth straight conference title and finished the season with a record of 49-12-5.

The Irish advanced to the Class D quarterfinals before being bounced and Hansen earned first-team All-State honors at setter as she tallied 1,160 assists, 123 kills, 85 aces and 204 digs in setting the stage for the Irish.

Returning to the hardwood in the winter she obviously played a huge role in SHA’s first-ever state title in girls basketball. Hansen, who was first-team All-State as a player and academically, averaged 19 points, six steals and four assists per game in 2013-14. She also broke the school record for career points, passing Kelsey DeNoyelles’ previous standard of 1,173, early on in the season, and finished her career with 1,679 points.

“She’s very humble,” said Brown of Hansen. “If I we’re going to show you a lead-by-example kind of person she would be it. She’s such a competitor and is willing to do whatever it takes to win. She’s the ultimate teammate because she makes everyone around her better, plus she has great instincts which you don’t see a lot of at the high school level. She was our engine and she made it happen.”

This spring Hansen closed out her prep softball career as one of the best high school players to ever play on both a state and a national level.

She hit .547 with 57 runs scored and was 50-for-50 in stealing bases this spring. She ranks first in state history in single-season runs (82 in 2012 when the Irish advanced to the state semifinals), consecutive games with a hit (91), hits in a single-season (100 in 2012) and career hits (305). She also ranks second in career runs scored (252) and eighth in career batting average (.567).

Nationally she ranks second all-time in consecutive games with a hit (91), fifth in career hits (305), sixth for hits in a single season (100), second in career runs scored (252) and tied for first in runs scored in a single season (82).


“She has a natural athletic ability that you don’t see too often and a will to win,” said SHA softball coach Amy Gaudard of her starting shortstop. “When you put those two together you’ve got a special athlete.”

Last Updated: 7/5/2014 5:37:05 PM EST