Hebrinks: Like mother, like daughter

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Sophia Hebrink, left, is on the Riverland women's basketball team, coached by her mother Suzy and older sister Anna. Suzy is the Lady Devils' head coach.

Anna Hebrink was looking to take a step forward, going from player to coach.

Suzy Hebrink was looking to add an assistant coach for her Riverland women's team.

Presto, a match made in basketball heaven.

Suzy and Anna are mother-daughter. Safe to say, when you're at the Hebrink household, the conversation will eventually turn to basketball.

Anna is in her second year on the Riverland bench, and only a few years removed from her days playing for the Lady Devils. During those two years, she finished with 943 points and 123 steals and also set school records in assists (332) and 3-point field goals made (152).


She was also named a NJCAA All-American as a sophomore, and that earned her a scholarship to play at Bemidji State where she became a two-year starter, leading the Beavers in steals and assists.

And that's where this story begins.

"Mainly because of playing basketball, I'm still a few classes away from graduating,'' Anna said, "and I decided to finish up by taking online classes. And that's not as easy as you might think; there's a lot of work involved.''

Wants to teach and coach

She is pursuing a degree in physical education and health and sciences, and wants to become a teacher and a coach. So following the 2010-2011 season at Bemidji, Anna decided to move back to Austin.

"Teaching and coaching is something I wanted to do for a long time,'' she said. "Obviously, my mother has had a lot of influence on that. But so far so good, I really enjoy coaching. I didn't realize everything that goes into it. You lose perspective when you're playing. Your mind is in a totally different direction.''

But this Riverland coaching gig isn't Anna's only one. She is also in her first year as head coach of the Austin "B'' squad. New Austin girls coach Todd Johnson reached our to her last summer about the job.

"That, too, is a learning experience,'' she said. "I think we're only like 4-9, but the record at that level is not the most important thing. Working on fundamentals and teaching them different sets and plays and playing defense is what I do.


"And I find myself running a lot of the things my mom has taught me over the years and that's OK. She knows her stuff.''

It's much different for Anna blowing the whistle, diagramming plays and calling timeouts.

"I grew up next to my mom so I thought I knew a lot about coaching,'' Anna said. "She is very detailed and even though we don't agree on everything I still think she appreciates my input.''

A typical Anna day? Online school during the day, then practice at Riverland in mid-afternoon and then "B'' squad practice at the high school around 5:30 p.m. Oh yes, she also finds time to waitress at Applebees.

Of course, there are games to be played every week, too.

"Hopefully, I'll finish up all my classes this summer,'' she said, "and then be ready to student teach in the fall. At least that's the plan. Would I like to to teach (in Austin)? Sure, of course. That would be ideal, but we'll see.''

Suzy, who also teaches physical education and health at the school, and Anna are not the only Hebrinks on the Riverland bench. Sophia is a sophomore captain, and guess what, like her sister, has led the Lady Devils in steals and assists the past two years.

When Anna was playing at Riverland she was a teammate of another sister, Gretchen. In all, there are seven Hebrink children, ranging from ages 3 to 23, and you should not be surprised that all are or have been involved in basketball in some capacity.


Anna, who'll turn 24 next month, is the oldest.

"This is a busy time of year, no doubt about it,'' said Suzy, whose Devils (11-6, 1-2 in the MCCC) play at Fergus Falls on Wednesday night before returning home Saturday for a 1 p.m. game against Western Technical College. "But I wouldn't have it any other way.''

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