Grace Haley made up her mind a few years ago.
She decided then she wanted to play college basketball. And the Williamston native has put in all the work possible since to achieve that goal.
That quest became a reality for the Lansing Christian senior when she recently signed a letter of intent to play at NAIA program Bethel College in Indiana.
But Haley also has accomplished much more on the court and capped her high school hoops career by being named an Associated Press first team Class D all-state selection.
The 5-foot-8 Haley earned all-state recognition after averaging 17.3 points and 10.3 rebounds for the Pilgrims, whose season ended earlier this month with a district final loss to Morrice. She became the school’s latest 1,000-point scorer during a district semifinal victory.
“When it comes to Grace, she has made herself into a talented basketball player,” Lansing Christian coach Jason Salsbury said. “It’s through her hard work that she is where she is right now.
“She still works on the fundamentals regularly so much that so that Justin Terry – our former head coach a few years ago – was heading out to officiate a football game and saw Grace in her driveway doing drills he had taught her as a freshman. She still just works on the fundamental shooting form and dribbling drills all on her own. She works on her game a lot.”
Haley, who played every position on the court for the Pilgrims, thought she took another step forward this season thanks to her offseason work. She thought her shot was better and she was able to create offensive opportunities for herself and teammates while facing added defensive attention.
And Haley found validation for the work she’s put in over the years by reaching the 1,000-point milestone.
“I think it really proved and showed to me that every drill you do matters,” Haley said. “I don’t really think I would have been able to reach that accomplishment if it weren’t for every single drill.. Reaching that goal in one of my final games of my high school career showed me everything you do makes an impact.”
Contact Brian Calloway at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.
ASSOCIATED PRESS CLASS D ALL-STATE
Class D girls basketball All-State team as selected by a panel of nine Michigan sportswriters.
Player of the Year
Maddie Clark, Pittsford, Sr.
First Team All-State
Maddie Clark, Pittsford, Sr.
Jaycie Burger, Pittsford, Sr.
Allyson Richards, Fruitport Calvary Christian, Sr.
Kayla Sanders, Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes, Jr.
Scout Nelson, Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart Academy, So.
Sophie Ruggles, Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart Academy, Jr.
Grace Haley, Lansing Christian, Sr.
Cecelia Schmitt, Frankfort, Sr.
Alex Hunter, Gaylord St. Mary’s, Jr.
Shannon Bates, Bay City All Saints, Sr.
Emily Witkowski, St. Joseph Michigan Lutheran, Sr.
Coach of the Year
Chris Hodos, Pittsford.
Second Team All-State
(Nominees receiving two or more votes from the nine-member panel)
Elasia Craig, Wyoming Tri-unity Christian, Sr.
Tiffany Senerius, Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes, Jr.
Emma Johnson, Harbor Light Christian, Jr.
Vanessa Shook, Hillman, Sr.
Daelynn Jackson, Lawrence, Sr.
(Nominees receiving one or no votes from the nine-member panel)
Emma Jo Wedeven, Holland Calvary; Carissa Read, Wyoming Tri-unity Christian; Lauren Turner, Sterling Heights Parkway Christian; Daelyn Merillat, Morenci; Taylor Hewitt, Morrice; Lexi Niepoth, Bellaire; Bailey Whitcomb, Bellevue; Kaytlyn Tidey, Lawrence.