Sports Person of the Week
Thomas Finds Her Passion for Basketball
Junior Maddie Thomas blocked a lot of shots a power forward/center for the Hand girls’ basketball squad this winter. (Photo courtesy of Maddie Thomas )
Maddie Thomas has been playing basketball since she was in kindergarten, but she never expected her passion for the game to take off the way it has. It wasn’t until her sophomore year at Hand that Maddie realized she had the potential to contribute on the varsity court. Now a junior, Maddie made an impact for the Hand girls’ basketball team as a power forward/center this winter, helping the Tigers have an excellent campaign that featured record of 20-4 and their seventh-straight State Tournament berth.
“I’ve been an athlete all my life, and I began just because it was another thing that I could add to my repertoire. I wouldn’t have guessed back then that basketball would be such a critical part of my life today,” Maddie says. “Basketball has been an outlet that I can rely on to relieve any stressors in my life.”
Maddie averaged 2.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game for Hand on the season. Head Coach Tim Tredwell says that Maddie’s impact was most felt on the defensive end of the floor, where she averaged a team-high 2.1 blocks per contest. Tredwell adds that Maddie brought an overall positive presence to his squad on an everyday basis.
“Maddie is a great player, person, and teammate. She’s always the first one cheering for her teammates off the bench if she’s not in the game, and she always puts the team ahead of herself,” says Tredwell. “The crazy thing is she’s only just starting to grow into her full potential, and I really don’t think she will even be at her best when she leaves this program. Maddie is capable of playing at the next level, and I see her being an asset to any school she attends.”
After having a breakthrough year as a sophomore, Maddie wanted to continue developing her confidence on the court. So, following the season, she signed up to play AAU hoops for the Connecticut Storm.
“When that season finished, I was hungry for more basketball action in order to improve my game and my team. I joined the Storm, and it has been one of the most beneficial things in my life and for my game,” says Maddie. “It was just a bonus that I met some amazing people along the way. I spent so much time striving to get better for myself and my team.”
In addition to playing AAU, Maddie credits Coach Tredwell as one of the biggest factors behind her improvement, as well as her desire to stick with basketball.
“I’ve often thought to myself and shared with others about how grateful I am to have such a caring, knowledgeable, and dedicated coach like Coach Tredwell,” Maddie says. “He has always been there for me since the beginning of my high school career. [Tredwell], along with the rest of my team’s coaching staff, are people I can always trust to talk to if anything is on my mind.”
Maddie and Tredwell were both ecstatic when the Tigers defeated Wilbur Cross on Senior Night. Hand was down by eight with 2:30 to play before storming back for a 57-51 victory that solidified the SCC Quinnipiac Division title.
“We were down by a little at every point in the game, but my team and I were determined to win for ourselves and our seniors,” says Maddie. “The grit and heart that we put into the second half of that game was like nothing I’ve seen before. We kept fighting back until we were up by one basket. When the final buzzer sounded and we had won that game, the feeling of accomplishment in the air was amazing. I feel so lucky have been a part of that moment.”
Aside from basketball, Maddie is a goalie on the Hand girls’ soccer team. Maddie also enjoys horseback riding and is a member of Peer Advocates at the high school.
“Horseback riding has been a part of my life for the longest time, but is something most people don’t know about me. I love the escape that being around the horses gives me,” Maddie says. “I have also involved myself in Peer Advocates, which has opened many new doors for me as a student and person in my community. I have met so many awesome people who have taught be a lot about myself and others.”
Maddie still has one year left to go with the Tigers. Maddie has high hopes for her last season on the basketball court and is looking forward to leading the team as a senior.
“With the loss of our talented seniors, we all will have to shoulder the responsibilities to carry our team to success, and I have no problem doing my best to lead and contribute to that effort,” says Maddie. “I owe a lot of who I am to this team, and I plan to pay it forward to help those younger than me.”