On the basketball court, the point guard position is one of, if not the most important position on the floor.
They bring the ball up, put their teammates in positions to succeed, and often serve as a coach on the floor for the other four players.
Point guards must be smart, mentally strong and above all, unselfish, and for the Clovis North girls basketball team, senior Rowan Hein checks all those boxes and then some.
Hein broke the Clovis North girls record for assists which stood at 292, just months into her junior season –– the number now stands at 385 after her junior season.
She also broke the single season assist and single game record as well.
“I’m really deadly in transition and I can see the floor and find the right person –– I just love passing,” Hein said. “Being a point guard is the best thing to ever happen to me, I love getting assists. I take pride in them.”
Her head coach, Heather Long, points to her instincts as a key factor for the senior’s success.
“Rowan does it all for us,” Long said. “She has a nose to figure out what the team needs from her in that moment and for a point guard that is a really valuable skill.”
Throughout her years playing basketball, whether in school or in the Amateur Athletic Union, Hein never doubted herself and always looked to improve.
She was confident in the way she played. There was no doubt in her judgement.
Hein played for the Hanford Elite AAU team from fifth to seventh grade, and there she learned more about the point-guard position. She was forced to go up and down the court, making her a better player quarter after quarter.
“They played a lot of up-and-down basketball. Very fast, full court running, and they forced me and conditioned me to look up all the time. They would give us these goggles that wouldn’t let you look down and every day before practice we had to do dribbling drills with the goggles,” Hein said. “In the first month I wasn’t as good as a lot of the girls and I was starting at the dead bottom. Those goggles, I will never forget. I dreaded before practice, but it made me such a better player.”
Hein later attended a point guard camp where she continued to work on her craft.
She had both the confidence and the skill to play her game and that translated into success for the Broncos.
Hein is Clovis North’s all-time assist leader for the girl’s program and many of those buckets were made by her running mate and backcourt partner Savannah Tucker, who was crowned TRAC Co-MVP last season.
The pair have been playing together since seventh grade and between the two, it’s all business when they are on the court.
Hein and Tucker served as co-captains of the team. Both have been starting since freshman year.
“All we want to do is win. There is no misunderstanding between us, it’s like clockwork,” Hein said. “I get the rebound and she runs in transition. There is never a moment in time where we skip a beat, we are always on the same page with each other.”
Their relationship over the years has been both a rivalry and a friendship. The pair benefited from a healthy competition, Hein said, and that pushed both to become what they are now –– two of the best players in the Central Valley.
“Rowan and I play really well together,” Tucker said. “It doesn’t matter if I get 10 points and we win or 30 points and we win, as long as we come out on top that’s all that matters.”
Both players were selected to the Cal-Hi Sports All-State First and Second Team for the class of 2020. Hein was also selected on the All-TRAC first team this past season.
Hein’s season was special for her and her Clovis North teammates.
Not only did they capture the Broncos’ first ever TRAC title, but they ended Clovis West’s 68-game TRAC winning streak.
“It was the most amazing basketball we have ever played,” Hein said on Clovis North’s 40-36 upset over Clovis West back in February. “We always wanted to beat Clovis West and when you have gone 68 games without losing, it was nice to beat them after all those years.”
Hein remembered a time back in third grade during an AAU basketball game against Clovis West when she had to face some of those girls she beat back in February.
The intensity of the game at such a young age motivated her to want to get better, but more importantly beat the Golden Eagles.
“I’ve wanted to beat them since I was young,” Hein said. “They would be trapping us, and they would make us turn the ball over, but I’ve just always wanted to beat them.”
Her mother, Alysha was there that night and when her daughter was going to the free throw line late in the game, she couldn’t watch … or so she thought.
“At the end, when she stole the ball and went to shoot the free throws, I turned around and I didn’t think I could watch her shoot these. One of the dads on the team looked at me and said, ‘you have to turn around and watch her, she’s worked her whole life for this moment’ and he was right,” Hein’s mother said. “When it went in and the buzzer rang, my happiness for her was overwhelming. I think beating Clovis West was better than her winning Cal-Hi Sports Player of the Year for California as a sophomore. I felt that we had climbed the highest mountain.
“As a parent there is nothing like it. No matter what happens, they did it. They had this night and they’ll have it forever.”
Hein and many of the core at Clovis North have been Broncos their whole life and have helped build the program into one of the best in the state and country. According to MaxPreps, the Broncos were ranked 11th in the state and 57th in the nation after ending the 2018-19 season 25-6 and 9-1 in the TRAC.
Hein’s coach throughout her time at Clovis North, Long, could see the talent years before she made her way into the high school level. The Broncos knew they had something special in the future and they were right.
“You could tell by their (Hein and Tucker) work ethic so long ago. They were in the gym all the time and their basketball IQ were super high. When you’re coaching, you’re looking for players who have “it” and they did and have that,” Long said. “You see it and hope it turns out the way you envision it to be, but we were hoping that this class could kind of be the one to help turn this around and they definitely have been.”
But it wasn’t just Hein’s passing or transition game that stands out. Her ability to be a great teammate in the Broncos’ program and her genuine care she has for everyone sets her apart.
“Rowan is a little bit more reserved, but she’s very true to who she is. She’s a special kid,” Long said.
Hein has one season left as a Bronco and she hopes to be back in the Valley Championship once again, but this time take home the trophy.
Her future after high school is starting to develop. Hein was accepted into the University of Denver and while she contemplates continuing her career on the court after college, Hein eyes a future in mechanical engineering, but also time to travel the world.
“I want to see the world. I have German citizenship so I might try and work with the European Union,” Hein said. “I just want something different.”
Hein’s mother believes the “geeky” side of her personality
Whether on the court or in the classroom, Hein strives to be the best she can be and so far, Hein continues to excel.