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Senior captain shooting forward Matt Wills earned All-Shoreline Conference Second Team honors, while also reaching the 1,000-point milestone for the Haddam-Killingworth boys’ basketball team this winter. (Photo courtesy of Matt Wills )
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Matt Wills capped off his varsity career with the Haddam-Killingworth boys’ basketball team by achieving a major milestone during an All-Conference campaign this winter.
Matt, a senior captain, was a four-year starter for the Cougars who’s also played hoops at the AAU level. Matt started off as a power forward, but moved to shooting forward as a junior, and saw a big boost in his offensive production.
This year, Matt not only played his way to a spot on the All-Shoreline Conference Second Team, he also scored the 1,000th point of his high school career. On the season, Matt averaged team-best totals of 16 points and 3.5 assists per game to go along with 6.0 rebounds a night.
“One-thousand points is a cool achievement. I thought about it at the start of the year and actually tried to calculate what I needed to get it,” says Matt. “It slipped my mind as the year went on, because I was focused on the team winning. As I got closer, it sat in my mind. They stopped the game and announced it over the [public-address system]. It was a surprise to me, but it’s great to have my name on a banner.”
Matt maneuvered his way through the paint in order to score points during his formative years with H-K. As time went by, Matt became a more diverse scoring threat as he settled into his role as a shooting forward.
“My freshman and sophomore years, I was never a primary scorer, but I got a lot of my points off of rebounds and scoring inside,” Matt says. “The last two years, I carried a hard-work mentality to get buckets. I also started to shoot more 3-pointers this year. It was a tough transition from power forward, but I enjoy having the ball in my hands more.”
No matter what position he’s played, Matt has always aided H-K with his durability and determination. Head Coach Jim Abbott says that Matt is one of the toughest players he’s coached.
“Matt will play all 32 minutes, never ask to come out of the game, and never gets tired,” Abbott says. “Matt has always played under the basket, but has been asked to play outside now that the team has changed. He has been able to learn and play the position very well. He is our captain and has great leadership skills. He’s one of the most coachable players I have ever had.”
Matt finished his run at Haddam-Killingworth by helping his team qualify for states this season. As a senior leader, Matt made sure that he formed deep connections with his colleagues on the Cougars.
“You form a bond with the rest of the team by going through practice every day,” says Matt. “I have a lot of experience under my belt through being varsity for four years, so it’s helpful to the rest of the team, and I try to help them keep a good mentality…I really had a strong bond with this team, which showed me a lot about personal connections with people.”
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