Since Gus Boyer, Rachel Breck and Hannah Potter first united on the basketball court in fourth grade it’s been hard to separate them.
It’s even harder to separate them to choose one as the Waseca County News All-Area Player of the Year so that’s why they’ll share the honor this year. In many ways they play as one and each has gained an attribute on the court from the other.
“As a trio, they definitely look out for each other,” Bluejays head coach Joan Conway said.
They’ve each developed their own roles on the team through the years and their own set of duties. Boyer, the Class 2A all-state selection, served as the fiery, tenacious point guard whose competitiveness had to be tamped down at times by Breck and Potter. Potter spent most of her high school career as a lockdown defender and rebounder but turned into a sharp-shooting 3-point specialist and emotional leader. Breck provided a steady presence with her all-out effort even as her duties changed throughout the season.
“I think our team’s success would not be possible without the chemistry,” Boyer said. “We kind of level each other out. I tend to push my teammates a lot and Hannah and Rachel usually bring me back down. Our friendship off the court adds to it on the court.”
Waseca made its second trip in three years to the state tournament this season with a 25-6 record. The Bluejays had their season end in the Class 2A state semifinals when the Minnesota State High School League canceled the remainder of the state tournament due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19.
Boyer, a University of Minnesota, Duluth recruit, led the team with a 19.9 points per game average and also averaged 7.2 rebounds a game. Breck scored 12.9 points a game and led the team with 7.5 rebounds per game. Potter scored 9.4 points per game and averaged 6.7 rebounds a game. Together they helped lead one of the stingiest defenses in the state that held 12 different opponents to their season-low point total.
“We’ve been lucky to have that balance over the last four years on the high school team,” Breck said. “Gussie, her competitiveness has rubbed off on me and other people have noticed it, too.”
Breck and Boyer played AAU basketball together last summer and that’s where Breck learned to play in the post. It became an important skill this season for Waseca, especially when Boyer tore her ACL 19 games into the season. Breck suddenly became the focal point of the offense and attracted double teams in the paint.
“We knew we had an advantage there and it got ramped up when Gus went down,” Conway said. “We relied on her to do a lot.”
Breck stepped into the role with ease, though she hadn’t played it in the past with Boyer and others like Madison Gehloff the year before. Potter followed suit and started playing with more confidence, finding her 3-point shot along the way.
“I think Hannah was most comfortable being the defender and rebounder and communicator,” Conway said. “It was fun watching her being comfortable shooting shots and shooting through it.”
Potter admits becoming more assertive on offense took some time but Conway’s confidence in her shooting helped her grow into the role.
“She would always tell everyone to take their shot,” Potter said. “I haven’t been a shooter until this year. Just having her tell me that is what got me through those moments.”
Even though she’d deferred to others in the past, Breck knew she would have to shoulder more of the offensive load.
“I didn’t want the ball in my hands because I knew there were other people that could get the job done,” said Breck, who will play volleyball and basketball at Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville in fall. “I knew I was going to have to be a scorer. I knew that at the beginning of the season.”
As Breck’s own confidence grew in her post play and leadership on the court, others on the team noticed to the point where they could translate her confidence into their own game.
“I think her role is how she thinks about herself and the confidence she portrays,” Potter said. “If she’s confident, other people are confident.”
Even though Boyer couldn’t join the team on the court for the postseason she remained on the sidelines of each game and helped the team achieve its goal of reaching the state tournament in other ways.
“I got to watch them grow into awesome basketball players,” Boyer said. “They both kind of knew the responsibility fell on their shoulders. Rachel has gotten so strong in the post and Hannah really took control of the floor. I’m really proud of both of them.”
Growing up, Potter’s father, Matt, and Boyer’s father, Tim, coached the team through seventh grade. Naturally, the two coaches’ daughters spent extra time on the court battling each other one-on-one. Boyer and Potter spent several years playing on the same AAU team during the summer as well.
Potter, Boyer and Breck and others on the youth team dubbed themselves the super six because they stayed together as numbers started to dwindle toward the middle school years but they started imaging bigger aspirations along the way.
“I think those are the days we started realizing we could be something special,” Potter said.