Eyes on 2,000; Haley Hungerholt is still looking to improve for a big future after reaching 1,000 points as a freshman

Published 10:15 am Friday, July 22, 2016

LEROY — Haley Hungerholt was only a freshman for the LeRoy-Ostrander girls basketball team this past season, but she had a major breakthrough.

She surpassed the 1,000 point mark for her career and she emerged as the Cardinals top play-maker.

This summer, she’s focusing on improving her game by working on one-on-one sessions with her dad Aaron, who is also the head girls basketball coach at LO. The two have worked drills that will help Haley grow stronger and become a better passer as she is expecting to garner much more attention from opposing defenses next season.

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“It makes me want to work a lot harder. High school will end in three years and I’m working harder to get to my next goal, which would be 2,000 points,” said Haley, who averaged 20.4 points, 6.9 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 5.8 steals per game last season.

Haley had averaged just seven points per game as a seventh-grader and 12 points per game as an eighth-grader, but her game grew by leaps and bounds last winter.

“I was impressed last year,” Aaron said. “I didn’t think going into last year that that would be the type of year she would have. She saw a lot of box and ones and I think she really took that next step. Now this year she’ll have to take another step to make her team better as well as herself.”

Since she already has three years of varsity basketball under her belt, Haley is going to focus on becoming a better leader this next season. She’ll also have to continue to learn how to play when the defense is trying to stop her.

Last year served as an eye-opener when opposing coaches began to focus their defense on trying to stop Haley from scoring.

“It got a lot harder,” Haley said. “Instead of just standing and shooting, I had to work and get screens to get open.”

Haley has played AAU basketball in the summer in the past, but this year she’s been playing with the LO summer team and she’s getting plenty of coaching from her dad. Aaron is hoping she can take the lessons she learned this summer and apply it to her overall game.

“She’s still learning a lot and we took advantage this year by not playing in the AAU circuit and I’ve worked a lot with her on her basics that she needs to get better at,” he said. “If she wants to make that next step or keep moving up the ladder, there’s always things you can get better at.”

Sometimes it can be difficult for a player to have their parent as a coach, but Haley and Aaron have found a balance that works for them.

“We leave it on the court,” Haley said. “If he yells at me we don’t really talk about it at home. It’s pretty good and I learn from him.”