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Hadley Houghton secured a spot in the starting lineup for the Hand girls’ basketball team as a junior this winter. In the spring, Hadley will play for the Tigers’ girls’ lacrosse squad. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Source | Buy This Photo)
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Hadley Houghton was inspired after contributing to the Hand girls’ basketball team’s run to the Class L state final last winter. As a sophomore, Hadley gained critical experience coming off the bench for the Tigers, who advanced to the state championship game as the No. 19 seed.
This year, Hadley set her sights on earning a spot in Hand’s starting lineup, and she accomplished that goal. Hadley and the tight-knit Tigers have already qualified for states and improved to 10-3 on the season by defeating Guilford last week.
“I’m really not surprised at all that we’re playing this well. I thought from the start of the season that we’d win lots of games,” says Hadley. “With this team, it’s really about team chemistry. I love everyone on the team, and everyone seems to love everyone else. You can teach a team how to be a good offensive unit, but you can’t teach team chemistry. You either have it or you don’t.”
Head Coach Tim Tredwell has seen Hadley grow as both a player and a person throughout the past few years. Tredwell says that Hadley continues to get better every day as she gains more confidence on the court.
“I always felt comfortable bringing Hadley in off the bench no matter what the situation was. Now, she’s starting to emerge as that go-to player. It’s her confidence level. It’s grown,” Tredwell says. “Hadley has that attitude which you like to see in players. She expects to do well, and she’s earned it. She now has a right to feel that way.”
Hand completed a season sweep of Guilford with its 41-37 victory over the Indians on Jan. 23. Hadley says that it was an important win for the Tigers against a scrappy Guilford squad.
“They played us very tough in the first half. It took that break at halftime for the team to talk it over,” says Hadley. “We reconnected for the second half. When they challenged us, we accepted it. We made foul shots down the stretch and pulled it out.”
Hadley stays active as an athlete at Hand. She plays midfielder for the girls’ lacrosse team in the spring and continues playing the sport during the summer.
Hadley also played volleyball in her freshman and sophomore years at Hand. After sitting out the recent fall season, she’s planning to return to the volleyball court for her senior campaign.
“I’ll be back on the team next year,” Hadley says. “I can’t get enough of the team environment.”
Hadley’s feelings about basketball changed at an early age. She learned a lot about the game and developed a love for it after participating in one of the most renowned basketball camps around.
“I attended the Hoop Dreams Camp when I was very young person. I even got the chance to coach a team,” says Hadley. “It made an enormous difference in how I looked at the game, how important team chemistry meant even then.”
Coach Tredwell sure is happy that Hadley gravitated toward basketball. Tredwell describes Hadley as a defensive stalwart and an opportunistic scorer.
“Hadley is a multiple-position player on defense and, along with that, she has solid instincts of what to do out there,” says Tredwell. “Right now, we’re not looking for her to be a big scorer. What she does well is get us the ball on defense and to work her way into the offense. When she scores, they are usually important points that often come in crucial parts of a game.”
Hadley is a solid student who enjoys all of her subjects, favoring English and the sciences. While college may be in the back of her mind, right now, Hadley is focused on enjoying her junior and senior years with the Tigers.
“I’ve still got lots of high school sports to play,” Hadley says. “More work to do on creating team chemistry and working with some of the younger players.”
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