Girard senior Hadyn Herlocker fulfilled the dream of a little girl Wednesday afternoon when she signed to play college basketball at Pittsburg State.
“I went to all their camps and that’s all I wanted to do was to play Pitt State basketball,” Herlocker said. “That dream has finally become a reality and I’m real excited about it. I can’t wait to be a Lady Gorilla!”
“This is a childhood dream for her,” Girard head coach and proud father Brad Herlocker said. “She is a girl that has worked very hard from a very young age and is now realizing a major goal for herself. She went at a very early age, I believe there’s a picture of her in the Morning Sun where she was going to Pitt State camp. She came home from the Pitt State camp saying that she’s going to play basketball for Pittsburg State and when a kid does that, you kinda say ‘OK, that’s great, you want to do that.’ I guess she’s backing up those words today. I’m very proud of her.”
Hadyn Herlocker enjoyed her best season last year: averages of 19.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 3.3 steals. Girard finished 18-6 and made an appearance in the Class 4A state tournament, where No. 23 scored 31 points during a 79-61 first round loss to eventual state champion McPherson.
“It was an incredible experience because we were the underdog and we had a lot of adversity last year so nobody thought we could do it,” Hadyn said. “We put in the hard work to do it. The seniors (Jordan Davied, Danica Kelly, Alex Walsh), I had been playing with them since I was little and it was awesome to finish out the season with them in that way.”
Multiple winning streaks ended for Girard last season: 50-game Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee League, 38 straight home wins at Ted R. Taylor Gymnasium and four straight Wilson County Classic tournament wins. CNC coaches selected Girard preseason No. 2 on Monday.
“We have a lot of goals,” Hadyn said. “A lot of streaks were broken last year and we worked really hard this summer to get back to where we were before. We want to get the CNC back and the Wilson County and the home streak going again. Also, we want to get back to state. Mainly, it’s because I don’t ever want my season with these girls to ever have to end. I’m such good friends with them that if it ends, it’s going to be sad. I want to get as much out of it as I can and reach our potential my last year.
“We played a ton this summer so we built a lot of chemistry. We’ve only had three practices so far but so far my dad has had to kick us out of the gym at the end of practice to save our legs.”
Page 2 of 2 - Hadyn Herlocker played on a veteran team her freshman year.
“My freshman year, I was fortunate enough to be blessed with such a great group of seniors (Carly Twarog, Morgan Boore, Carly Lallemand, Tessa Westhoff) who showed me what hard work and dedication can get you since we got third place at state that year,” Hadyn said. “And the teammates I have now, I can’t say enough about them. They’re my best friends and we’re like a family. I would not be where I am today without them.”
“As a coach, it says a lot for your program when you have players who are able to move onto the next level,” Coach Herlocker said. “I’m just very excited for her, just very excited for our program. It took a lot of great players, she’s played with a lot of great players, a lot of great influences from her freshman year on. She played quite a bit as a freshman with a great group of seniors and juniors that kind of taught her not only to play basketball but also be a good leader.”
Coach Herlocker touched a little bit on the hard work that goes into signing on with a basketball program currently ranked No. 3 in Division II, fresh off a school-best 27-6 record and Elite Eight appearance.
“She would spend hours out by herself on the concrete doing ballhandling drills and shooting,” Coach Herlocker said.
Times have been great for Girard female athletes in recent years and earlier this fall, girls golfer Timbrelee McNair won a 4A state title and appeared in the pages of Sports Illustrated.
Hadyn Herlocker recently won the 2012 Wendy’s High School Heisman for the state of Kansas, one of 50 girls and 100 overall state winners.
Nine of the 12 national finalists have already been named. The 12 national finalists will have an opportunity to attend Heisman Weekend activities in New York City — including the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award Banquet on Dec. 7, where the two national winners will be announced on ESPN2.