On Monday, Three Rivers guard Hailee Erickson officially signed to play basketball at Arkansas State.
Erickson joins the Red Wolves after finishing last season as Three Rivers’ leading scorer at 14.3 points per game, and she led the team in assists per game with four. Erickson sits third in the program’s record books with 159 made 3-pointers.
Arkansas State was always on Erickson’s list of dream schools.
“That’s just one of those schools that I’ve always wanted to go to,” Erickson said. “One of my biggest things growing up was wanting to go play DI, and Arkansas State, you know, they’ve always been a good program and continually getting better. And with it being close to home, it was just kind of like a win-win thing.”
Erickson is from Alton, Missouri, about 90 miles from Arkansas State’s campus.
The Red Wolves started getting in contact with Erickson after the season ended. They might’ve seen a couple of her key moments from last season. The first that sticks out is during the first game of Three Rivers’ undefeated region run.
The Lady Raiders were playing Mineral Area College at home to open region play, and Erickson went unconscious on offense. She knocked down eight 3’s and scored a season-high 30 points to help carry the team to an 84-77 win. Those eight 3’s are the third-most in a single game in program history.
“It seemed like when she got hot, we knew to get her the basketball, and that’s the trademark of an unselfish basketball team,” Three Rivers coach Jeff Walk said. “... I think in the Mineral Area game — everybody knew she could shoot — but Mineral Area forgot. And what she did that second half, nobody ever left her alone for the rest of the year.”
The second big-time moment came in the first round of the NJCAA Tournament in Lubbock, Texas. Erickson scored 29 points in an 88-84 loss to Jones County. It wasn’t just the 29 points that stuck out. Erickson buried four 3’s in the fourth quarter and helped Three Rivers erase a 15-point deficit and nearly complete the comeback. She scored 18 of her 29 points in that fourth quarter.
“I tell people that we needed another minute and a half and Erickson would’ve hit five more 3’s because that’s about how that was going to play out,” Walk said. “She’s going to be hard to replace.”
Erickson said she didn’t have a specific favorite moment at Three Rivers. She’s just going to miss her teammates and the people she met and friends she made outside of basketball.
“This year was a special year, coming in with a whole bunch of freshmen. I mean, I feel like it says a lot about them and how they grew a lot this year,” Erickson said. “For me being a sophomore, that was one of my biggest things I talked to coach Walk and (co-head coach Alex Wiggs) about when coming here to start playing is I wanted to get there, and ending at the national tournament, no matter how we did, that’s a goal set right there.”
In regards to position, Erickson’s skill set makes her a good fit at point guard, but she said she’s open to playing whatever position the Red Wolves need her to fill. Academically, she plans to earn a teaching degree and start coaching after she finishes school.
Nate Fields - Daily American Republic