hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


December 21, 2011

On the Record: In Medley they trust — Whittier hoopster has freedom to shoot

Editor's note: This is the latest in a series of profiles of local athletes.

Earning your coach's trust to have freedom of when to shoot the ball is a tricky task.

Many high school basketball stars struggle to find the difference between being viewed as a selfish player and a player who coaches trust to shoot whenever they choose.

In her fourth year as a starting guard, Whittier Regional High's Christina Medley has earned that trust.

"She's got free wheel to just let it go," said Whittier coach Kevin Bradley. "If she's slumping, we don't rein her back. She's going to shoot her way out of a slump."

A perfect example of that came in Whittier's season opening win against Northeast Metro Tech last week. Midway through the first quarter, Medley had missed several long jump shots from the perimeter and the game was tied. Instead of telling Medley to stop shooting, Bradley encouraged her to drive the ball to the hoop and take shots from a closer range. The advice sparked a 32-0 run by the Wildcats to end the half.

Medley is hoping to further improve on her performance from a season ago when she was honored as a Commonwealth Athletic Conference all-star. She averaged 13.6 points per game and was one of the top long-range shooters in the region with 54 3-pointers.

She enters the season with one goal in mind.

"I want to play at the (TD) Garden," Medley said.

To do so, the Wildcats will have to go farther in the state tournament than they have in Medley's first three years. Last season, the Wildcats made the Division 1 North semi-finals and were just two games away from playing at the home of the Boston Celtics.

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