Krystal Carlson is now the all-time scoring leader in not only Hastings girls' basketball history, but also Hastings High School basketball in general. Carlson passed the former record-holder, Erin Ahneman (formerly Ditty), Feb. 14 at North St. Paul. Ahneman, who played on Hastings' state championship team during the 1995-96 season, previously held the record with 1,604 points. As of Feb. 28, Carlson had racked up a total of 1,672 points.
Carlson said that breaking the record was not a goal of hers until this season.
"At the start of the year is when I realized that breaking the school record was a possibility, assuming that I were to average about the same number of points per game this year as I did last year," Carlson said. "After realizing I could break the record it has been a goal of mine. For me, that didn't mean that I had to go out there and be the leading scorer every time, the main focus is always just to win."
Her head coach Padrick Judd said he knew it much sooner.
"(I knew) Probably by midway through last year," Judd said. "It was pretty likely since she was scoring at a record pace for the season, and being the stat guy that I am, you could just tell it was coming. It wasn't a question of if she would, but when. Doing it her junior year is fantastic."
Carlson was honored for her accomplishment during a home game against South St. Paul on Feb. 21, and was surprised by Ahneman, who drove from Fargo, N.D., to help her celebrate.
"Krystal, being a junior, is going to bury my record, it's so exciting," Ahneman said. "Little girls will look up to her. I got it (the record) for 20 years and I am genuinely, genuinely happy for her."
"The game before breaking the school record I felt very good, I didn't have to worry about beating it because I knew it was a little out of my reach," Carlson explained. "But on the game I got the record it was kind of tough getting myself together; I felt like I couldn't really relax during the game until I got it because I knew everyone was sitting there waiting for it to happen."
However, once it happened she said the pressure was immediately off.
"After breaking the record I felt relief in the game and I felt proud of myself that my hard work has paid off," Carlson said. "This is an awesome accomplishment, it's kinda cool knowing that my name is going to be on top for a while."
Judd said what makes Carlson special in terms of her ability to play and, specifically, score, are her intangibles.
"She's relentless, she never gives up on a play," Judd said. "She's always trying to find ways to make herself better and her teammates better during practice. Just a true leader of what it takes to work hard, not just at the high school level but at the fifth-, sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade level. How hard she worked and the love she has for basketball, put all that together and you have a special player."
Finishing this regular season and going into next year, Carlson said she still has many more goals yet to accomplish.
"My team goal for the rest of the season and next year is to win the conference title and to make an appearance at state," Carlson said. "My personal goal is to hit 2,000 points next year."
That 2,000 point mark is no doubt in play. Carlson has scored almost 500 points this season with section play left. Entering next season, Carlson will most likely need about 300 points (or less) to break 2,000.
Hastings finished its regular season with a 14-12 overall record, was 11-3 in the Metro East Conference and finished in second behind Mahtomedi. The Raiders received a No. 5 seed in section 3AAAA and traveled Wednesday, March 1, to play No. 4 seed Park of Cottage Grove. The winner of that game goes on to play the winner of top-seed Eagan and No. 8-seed Eagan. Hastings lost to Park by one, 49-48, on Feb. 7.