Her first points came in her first game as a varsity player for Atlantic, way back on Nov. 20, 2017, against Carroll.
In a sixth-girl role for the Trojans, then-freshman Haley Rasmussen came off the bench and scored eight points in what was a 71-50 victory over the Tigers that night at Atlantic High School.
Seventy-six games later, Rasmussen has reached the 1,000-point club for the Trojans.
With 3:38 to go in the third quarter, the Atlantic senior – sitting at 999 points for her career – was fouled on her way in for a layup. She went to the line and sank the first of her two free throws. Immediately after it swished in, the crowd erupted into cheers as her teammates serenaded her with a balloon bouquet.
It was a moment worth remembering for Rasmussen, a returning second-team all-state selection a year ago and returning all-Hawkeye Ten Conference player, and one her teammates and coaches said was well-deserved.
“I’m just super proud of her,” said fellow senior and longtime friend Maycie Waters. “She’s worked hard basically our whole lives, as long as we’ve played together. she’s always getting in the gym and getting extra minutes in.”
Tessa Grooms, also a senior and longtime teammate and friend, added: “It’s been great just watching her grow up and being successful. I hadn’t played much with her as a child but a few years in middle school and a few years in high school and it’s great seeing her come out and play the sport she loves the most.”
Both Waters and Grooms, among five other seniors on the team, agreed the energy Rasmussen brings, along with her leadership and energy, are reasons they love being on the team with her.
“She’s always wanting to get better and just a great person all around,” said Grooms.
“She’s always getting us pumped up and once she starts getting shots all of us start falling too. She’s just great at that,” added Waters.
Coach Dan Vargason was so elated when Rasmussen climbed over the top of the 1,000-point mountain. He remarked on her hard work and dedication to the game, not just offensively but to be a good defender and all-around basketball player.
Remember, though: Rasmussen scored her first five points of the second half in the first 45 seconds of the frame to get to 999, but then dished off the ball to teammates on the next several possessions before finally going for the shot that put her in the history books.
“I think her whole personality on the court showed tonight,” said Vargason. “We’re all sitting there at 19 points where she could have had a layup and she dished it off to someone else. absolutely unselfish and it’s awesome to see her get to that 1,000.
“She didn’t think much about it, but it’s good to see her go out and play basketball and do that and keep moving on as teammates.”
Waters and Grooms did let their teammate know she was getting close to the milestone mark, but secretly got the pomp and circumstance planned to surprise her when things happened. She and the teammates – including fellow seniors Nellie Grooms, Taylor McCreedy and Lauren Nicholas – had to verify where Rasmussen was in scoring before knowing when to put the plan in action.
They all agree that Rasmussen is part of a great group that can’t easily be replaced.
“It’s just a great group of girls we’ve got,” said Grooms, who reigned as homecoming queen this past fall. “And I’m going to miss these girls like crazy when we graduate.”
“Our team chemistry is great this year I’m just excited to finish it out with them,” she added.