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Sports Person of the Week
Bradbury Heating Up on the Warriors’ Court
Abby Bradbury has been lighting it up for the Valley Regional girls’ basketball team this year. In her sophomore season, Abby is leading the team with 15.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 2.9 steals per game. (Photo courtesy of Abby Bradbury)
Abby Bradbury is making a significant impact for the Valley Regional girls’ basketball team. Abby transferred to Valley this year and, in the midst of her first season with the Warriors, the sophomore point guard been putting together some impressive performances to help Valley earn a 5-3 record thus far.
Abby takes pride in her basketball skills and is constantly working on her game. Abby feels that the time she’s invested in improving her abilities on the court is one of the biggest factors behind her success.
“The thing I’m most proud of is probably my work ethic. I play all year long. I play AAU basketball with the Connecticut Cobras out of Middletown,” Abby says. “I’m lucky to have a family that supports me doing that. My family drives me everywhere. It hasn’t been as active during COVID. Mostly, I’ve been trying to find gym time at an open gym and get in there.”
In her first year with the Warriors, Abby is leading the team with 15.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 2.9 steals per game. Abby has big aspirations for Valley both this season and in future campaigns.
“My goal for our team this year is to win Shorelines. I think we’ve just scratched the surface in terms of our potential. The modified season has been a real challenge for teams all over Connecticut, but I think our team has a really bright future,” says Abby, who lives in Deep River. “The girls have been awesome. They’re really welcoming. They’re a great team and a great group of girls.”
While Abby puts in the effort on both ends of the floor, she feels that she excels the most on offense. A skilled ball handler and floor general, Abby isn’t afraid to work her way into the paint to create some contact and get to the foul line.
“I’m probably more of an offensive player, although my favorite thing to do is score points in transition. When you get a steal and a transition bucket, you can feel the energy surge through the team,” Abby says. “I like to drive a lot and draw the foul. I’ve also really worked on my shot. It’s been tough to keep up with the shooting since COVID happened, but that’s probably what I’m working on the most right now.”
Abby is also a willing passer, and that’s an important characteristic to have as a point guard. If Abby doesn’t have a good look at the hoop after getting into the teeth of the defense, she has her head on a swivel to find the open shooter, who is often senior teammate Alena Crosby.
“I especially love to drive and dish. I like great ball movement, especially if the defense is in a zone. If you can break the zone, you can get the ball through and find a wide-open shot,” says Abby says. “I like to dish it to the post or to Alena for a three. It’s a great feeling to watch the ball go into the net after making a good pass.”
Abby had her work cut out for her when she joined the Warriors. This year marks Abby’s first experience with Head Coach Jaimie Bickelhaupt and the Valley playbook, and she’s had to learn a lot during a shortened season.
“When I joined the team, it was difficult at first, because I had to learn a lot of plays. Coach is really good about posting plays so we can memorize them. Once you do that and run through them, you feel each other out and build the chemistry more. It gets easier every game,” Abby says. “Coach gives us the tools to run and create our own shots. I think it’s really good for development, too. It’s good to be on a team that allows us to do that.”
Coach Bickelhaupt has been impressed by Abby in the short amount of time that she’s spent with the sophomore. Bickelhaupt believes that Abby’s determination to be a top player is paying dividends for the Warriors.
“Abby is a workhorse. She is someone who has a goal to be the best on the floor at all times, and she continuously hits that goal. Her teammates challenge her, and she’s getting better in a position that she hasn’t really played much of at this level,” says Bickelhaupt. “On top of that, she always has a positive attitude and is the biggest cheerleader for her teammates. Coming over to a new team, she had to earn the respect of her teammates and build relationships with the girls in the short time we’ve on the court. She’s done that every day.”
Abby has been playing basketball for quite a long time. She first became enamored with the sport after watching her older brother David Bradbury compete for Valley Regional.
“My brother was the biggest mentor to me. I remember watching him play basketball, and I have just wanted to play ever since then. He went to Valley, and he coached the freshmen boys’ team last year. This year, he’s coaching the varsity boys’ team at Portland,” Abby says. “We’re really close and talk all the time. I call him after games. I’ll watch his games when I can, and we even watch film together.”
All of Abby’s experience on the court has helped her develop a sharp basketball IQ and a discerning eye for the game. Abby wants to play basketball at the collegiate level after high school, and she’s trying to perfect her strengths, while improving in other areas of the game in order to reach that goal.
“I think one of my best aspects is my ability to see the court and create shots for other players. I can finish through contact, or at least I’m halfway there. I am working on that. I think that can get me to the next level,” says Abby. “Being able to create your own shots and shots for other players is huge. That’s something I really learned from my brother.”
Overall, Abby is most happy about the fact that she has the chance to play for the Warriors this season. With all the challenges presented by COVID-19, Abby feels thankful to be able to hit the hardwood in 2021.
“I’m just glad to be able to play. I know everyone doesn’t have that opportunity,” Abby says. “It’s tough, but I’m trying to make the most of it. We are all going through different things, but we’re just supporting each other. We know we’re lucky to be in the gym together.”