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.
The Haverhill Gazette sat down with Medley to talk about her life both on and off the court.
What is the biggest thing that you are working on improving on this season?
I need to improve on my ball-handling skills against difficult teams. As a team, we are working on reading each other more, and working on our cuts.
How did it feel to be honored as an all-star last season?
Awards don't really get to my head at all. It's nice to be honored like that, but I just don't think of it too much when the season starts.
What did you work on in the off-season?
My speed. I ran a lot and I did volleyball in the fall to get myself going. In the summer, I play on the boys basketball team at the Haverhill YMCA.
Which do you like better — volleyball or basketball?
Basketball. No question. I've played it my whole life.
How did you get started in basketball?
My dad got me started. I'm the tomboy of my family. Right when I was brought home from the hospital, I had a Celtics jersey on.
How old were you when you started playing?
I was in the first or second grade, playing basketball at the St. Joseph's School.
Has anyone else in your family played sports?
Both of my parents played for Minuteman Regional High School.
What inspires you to play basketball?
I'm inspired by the opportunity to play in college. I'd like to play at the D2 or D1 level.
Have you talked to any schools?
I've talked to some coaches, but I have no definitive list on where I'd like to go.
What schools are you looking at?
Quinnipiac, Endicott, Saint Anselm and Le Moyne.
What are you looking to major in?
Let's do some favorites. Favorite food?
Boston Celtics. I cannot wait for the season to finally start.
Do you think the Celtics are too old to win a championship?
They're never too old. They'll find a way to compete.
Los Angeles Sparks forward Candace Parker
Math. I've always been good at math since I was a little kid. It comes easy to me.
I'm into country, so I'd have to say Keith Urban or Kenny Chesney.
"Make Me Proud'' by Drake
"Love and Basketball''