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Hope Hassmann: Tahoma girls basketball's quintessential leader with the inspirational name

Bears point guard goes by her middle name - Hope - which was given to her after her dad's near-death experience just days before she was born

MAPLE VALLEY, Wash. - There is always a calmness around Tahoma High School when Carly Hassmann shows up.

It's her ethos. Nothing ever seems out of the realm of possibility or belief.

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If you've never heard of her, perhaps it's because the three-time 4A NPSL girls basketball player of the year goes by her middle name - Hope.

It is what everyone calls her.

"Honestly, I feel like it has stuck," Hassmann said.

And there is a heartwarming story behind it.

But first, you have to understand the Hassmann basketball lineage, which traces back to Oregon.

Rick Hassmann, a longtime administrator and coach, posted one of the biggest-splash victories in state history when he was the girls coach at Tigard High School. It took down national powerhouse Oregon City, ranked No. 1 in the country, in the state finals in 1988.

Five years later, his son, Scott, was the starting shooting guard on the Tigard boys team that upended Hillsboro for Oregon's Class 4A championship.

After playing two years of college ball at NAIA program Western Baptist, Scott graduated from the University of Oregon and married his high-school sweetheart - Jen, a standout softball player at Western Oregon University.

Three generations of Hassmann basketball - Scott (won boys state title at Tigard in 1993), Hope (Tahoma girls point guard) and Rick (coach of Tigard's 1998 girls state title team over Oregon City)

He got a job with Baden Sports, Inc. right out of college in corporate sales, and quickly became a company star as he moved his growing family to Ravensdale, Wash. in south King County.

Life was swimmingly moving along - until, in an instant, it stopped.

In June of 2004, the Hassmanns hosted a company barbecue at their house, complete with an outdoor basketball court where pickup games among workers quickly broke out.

Then 30, Scott joined a game - and suddenly collapsed, going into cardiac arrest.

"Families were there. Kids were there," Jen said. "And his co-workers jumped in and saved his life."

They administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on Scott, who had also aspirated, until paramedics arrived on scene, transporting him to Multicare Auburn Medical Center.

Once at the hospital, the outlook was grim. Not only did Scott have arterial blockages near his heart, doctors feared when he aspirated, the fluid caused pneumonia in his lungs.

"(Doctors) thought he was going to be brain dead," Jen said.

Scott spent more than two weeks in a medically-induced coma at the hospital. Jen - with an infant son (Joey) and nearly eight months pregnant with a daughter - never left his side.

2022-23 Washington girls basketball: Decatur at Tahoma

"I never ... thought he was going to die," Jen said. "The entire time, I believed he had unfinished business."

As family and co-workers waited for Scott to wake up, one of Jen's students visited her in the hospital to bring her a bracelet that had one word engraved on it: Hope.

"I wore it the whole time." Jen said.

And 17 days after suffering the heart attack, Scott woke up- a week before his daughter was born July 2 (also his birthday).

Originally, the newborn's middle name was going to be Marie. Instead, it became Hope.

"It just stuck with me," Jen said.

The new name stuck with everybody - so much that is what the little girl was called all the time.

"When I was 2, my dad called me, 'Hope-y,' so it stuck," Hope Hassmann said. "I didn't realize why I was called that until I was older."

Then, father and daughter began their journey in basketball - together.

"He's been there ever since I've picked up a basketball," Hassmann said. "He's taught me how to put it all out there - how to play hard ... make the right play and do the right thing."

Hope and Scott Hassmann, Tahoma girls basketball 2022-23

Scott eventually left Baden in 2008 to become a co-owner of Maple Valley-based Cloud 9 Sports, a sporting goods and apparel business.

It also freed him up to follow his two children in youth basketball.

"Personality-wise, Hope and I are more Type A personality," Scott said. "She has always wanted the ball in her hands."

This is an important week for Tahoma as this nucleus group of seniors - Hassmann (a Cal State Fullerton signee), Lauryn Frederickson, Abigail Knutson and Angie Cavanaugh - have been together since the second grade.

"I've asked a lot out of Hope and this group of seniors," Bears girls coach Pete Smith said. "Every time, they've stepped up."

These days, Scott is on the bench with the Bears as an assistant coach.

"He'll give me faces - like the death stare, or occasionally I will get the good, happy smile," Hassmann said. "But he knows when to just step back and trust that I will know what to do with the ball in my hands."

Ah, that fighting essence - full of unbridled ambition. Some would call it hope.

"It's just in her spirit," Scott said. "She's always been able to go 100 miles an hour and know what she was going to do."