Hudson Hawks inspire a new generation of basketball players

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Hudson Hawks inspire a new generation of basketball players
Madison Kiley and Morgan McLeod high-five their teammates before the Hawks game against Clinton. (Photo/Laura Hayes)

HUDSON – Behind the bench of the Hudson High School varsity girls basketball game was a row of fifth grade girls.

The fifth-graders were members of the Hudson Travel Basketball team, watching and cheering on the Hawks as they beat Clinton.

“What we’re trying to do is just really stay as close as we can to [Hudson Coach Marty Murphy] and to the girls program as well as the boys program,” said Vice President of Girls Travel Basketball David Bruce.

One way of doing that was by having the travel team play a game during the half time of the Hudson and Clinton game.

“[We] try to have them look up — which they do — to these senior girls, see the successes that they have, see the teamwork and love of the game that they have, and try to instill that passion for them,” Bruce said.

Five of the seniors on the team — Katie O’Malley, Kaitlyn Puim, Madison Kiley, Gracie Giorgio and Taylor Bruce — have played together since they were on the fifth grade travel team.

The seniors said playing on the travel team was fun and helped them learn the basics of basketball.

That first year, there were approximately 10 players on the team, including the five that are still playing for the high school.

“It’s just a special group of girls,” said Bruce, who was co-coach of the team with Mark Kiley.

The travel team teaches the fundamentals of basketball, teamwork and the philosophy that play time is earned, not granted, Bruce said.

The team practiced at least twice a week and played games every Sunday across Central Massachusetts. According to Bruce, when they had the opportunity, the team traveled to Foxborough for tournaments.

At the same time, the girls took advantage of other opportunities to play the game that they loved, including through a town recreation program.

“Obviously our chemistry has stayed because now, so long after we’re still playing together,” said Madison Kiley.

Over the years that the seniors played together on the travel team, Bruce said he and Kiley saw them mature as teammates.

From a skill perspective, Kiley’s daughter — Madison — was heavily relied upon for her skills, Bruce said. He said they tried to take the burden off Madison’s shoulders.

“That’s what I saw from day one toward the end — and you’ll see it tonight at the game — each of these girls can contribute and will contribute to the game on their own,” Bruce said.

Their advice for the current team?

“Bond with your teammates because they could be your teammates all throughout high school, and that’s important,” said O’Malley.

For more information on the Hudson travel team, visit https://hudsonhawkstravelbaskeball.sportngin.com/.

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