Posted on 29 December 2011.
Senior guard Nate Haffen, shown here De. 8 against northern power Lowry, is following in the footsteps of his father, Russell, and brother, Lee, both of whom held scoring titles and won state championships with Boulder City. Hafen, who had 1,057 career points before this week, will likely not catch his brother lee, who holds the school record at 1,989. Photo by Steve Andrascik
By Pedro F. Fonteboa, Boulder City Review
Nate Hafen knows he has big shoes to fill, following in the footsteps of several family members at Boulder City High School.
But the senior on the varsity basketball team does not worry.
“I have set some high goals for me and for the team this season, but that is fine,” said Hafen, a 6-foot, 1-inch guard who averages 9.8 points per game. “Playing for Boulder City where my father played and going after his scoring record, and trying to reach my brother Lee’s current record, is an honor.
“But if I do not reach those numbers, I will survive. If I am able to look in the mirror after every game, and I can stand to look at myself after my effort, then it will be fine. As long as I believe I gave it my all and played hard, then there is no more that can be done.”
The Eagles are playing this week in the 12-team Paloma Holiday Tournament in Menifee, Calif.
One of Hafen’s goals was to get as close as possible to two records.
Nate’s father, Russell Hafen, a 6-6 center, broke the school scoring record with 1,752 points in 1977 and won state titles in 1976 and 1977. His record stood 23 years until his son Lee, a shooting guard, broke the record in 2000 when he scored 1,989 points and the Eagles again won the state title.
“My goal is to win a state title like my father and brother, and this team is very talented and can do it,” said Hafen, who has 1,057 career points. “As for the scoring records, I likely won’t break them, but it’s fine too. Eventually my name will be close to them near the top.
Nate Hafen cheers for starting Lady Eagles' center and girlfriend of 16 months, Karlee Koopman, on Dec. 19 during the Lady Eagles' holiday tournament at Basic. Hafen hopes to help lead Boulder City to state titles in basketball and baseball, something his father and brother did at the high school. Photo by Pedro F. Fonteboa
“I’d trade any scoring record for a state title that we can all enjoy.”
In 2009, three junior varsity players were promoted to the varsity for the state playoffs. Hafen would have been the fourth. The Eagles won the state championship under coach Bobby Reese.
So now, Hafen and his teammates hope to track one down for themselves.
Hafen is the floor leader for the Eagles. His teammates count on him in the clutch, his family watches, and inside, Hafen is driven to succeed, to pass expectations.
The same quest will continue in the baseball season. Hafen is a starting pitcher for the Eagles.
He is hoping to also win a state baseball championship as Lee did in 1997, and brother Andrew won in 2006. His sister Megan was a standout basketball player for two seasons.
“There is a lot to accomplish in the next six months,” Hafen said. “All I can do is try to do my best each day and the rest will handle itself.”
Despite most of the expectations he has put on himself he is happy.
The Eagles are far improved from last season’s record. They already have several quality wins against larger 4A opponents and beat last year’s 3A state runner-up Lowry by 15 points earlier this season
On Jan. 6, the Eagles begin their quest for the Southern League championship when they hope to make a statement at home against rival and defending league and 3A state champion Moapa Valley.
“This team is working hard because we think we have a chance to be something special,” guard Corbett Fleming said. “Nate is our leader. We know he is motivated and as our captain, we are ready to follow him to the final game. We think it can be the state championship game.”
Earlier this season, Hafen was named MVP as the Eagles swept the blue bracket and won the championship at the Lake Mead Tournament.
He is as comfortable driving the lane for a shot as he is singing the national anthem, which he did prior to the game against Mountain View Christian. He spent part of his time off over the holidays supporting his girlfriend of 16 months, fellow senior basketball player Karlee Koopman, as the Lady Eagles played four games in the Lady Wolves Holiday Classic at Basic.
Possibly no one was cheering louder for Koopman and her teammates than Hafen. He was the vocal guy in the third row with the giant signs that read, “You’ve been Kooped!” and “I Luv #2.”
“Nate is not the same style of person or player that I was or that Lee was,” said Russell Hafen, who attends most games with his wife Linda. “We don’t compare the kids. Each has his own road to travel. I was a center and scored from the inside, mostly. Lee was a pure scorer who could shoot outside, or drive the lane. But Nate is more of a team leader. He does more to win games in more areas than either Lee or I did.”
Russell has seen his share of Boulder City games through the years. And, he likes what he sees from this team.
“This team does not have a starting five and a second five, but rather 10 who can interchange and play as hard as they need while in there,” Russell Hafen said. “There is a different leading scorer each night. They are hard to defend for opponents. I am excited to watch this team play. It is a lot of fun.”
Nate Hafen could be scoring a lot more, possibly shooting for the scoring records, but that is not his style.
“Nate is more than a scorer,” said basketball coach John Balistere, the Eagles’ first-year coach. “Nate is the quarterback out there.
“He directs the flow of the game for us. He is one of our best scorers, but not necessarily our leading scorer every game. Nate does what he needs to do so that we can win.”
Before the season, the team motto was “Restore the Roar.” Hafen has helped get the roar back at Eagles’ games.
“My dream is to have the entire city turn out for the state title game this year at the arena, and we win it,” Hafen said. “Everyone cheering at the same time for our team would be a nice sound to hear.”