By Mike Deak
WARSAW – The kid is just putting up video game numbers at this point.
Case in point, Warsaw setter Avery Hales is now part of the 2K club, and has a whole lotta ball in front of her.
Hales, just two weeks into her junior season, surpassed the 2,000 assist mark for her career. In a sport where 1,000 assists for a career is a remarkable accomplishment for many, Hales is way ahead of the curve.
It was less than a year ago that Hales was ranked among the top setters in the country in assists. A MaxPreps search of Hales midway through the 2020 season had Hales ranked in the top five in the country in assists. While the rest of the country caught up to her as the year went on, Hales remained among the nation’s elite. Into her junior season, she is once again among the top setters in the country in assists, sitting at 321. With Texas having already played most of its season, as have Alabama and Oklahoma, just a handful of players are ahead of where Hales is from the remainder of the country.
Currently ranked No. 2 in the state of Indiana in total assists, Hales only trails Mount Vernon Fortville’s Rylee Ugen (342) for stat mash in the category. But her 2,000th is the number of the moment, which came during the matchup with South Bend St. Joe at the Mishawaka Invite this past weekend.
“I could have never achieved this without my team,” Hales said Saturday evening. “Assists are a team award. 2,000 means 2,000 digs and kills as well.”
While Hales could be parked on the outside just directing traffic and piling up assists, the dynamic junior is doing just about everything. After posting 796 assists as a freshman and 911 more as a sophomore, theoretically teams could just gather at the net and hope to clog the hitting lanes. But Hales has 44 kills and a 46 percent kill percentage in Warsaw’s 14 games, one kill from fourth on the squad. Hales also has 24 blocks and 80 digs, showing she is literally all over the court, not just waiting for distributions.
“I am so proud of Avery for reaching this amazing career achievement,” said Warsaw head coach Chandra Hepler. “What an honor to be able to coach a player as committed and dedicated to this team, program and sport as she is. She is a leader and the first one to tell you she couldn’t achieve this recognition without her teammates and knows the significance of their role in her impressive achievement as well.
“She has set the bar high for herself and is committed to the process of becoming the best leader, teammate and setter she can be.”