Bradbury Hits 1,000-Point Career Milestone for Valley Girls’ Hoops
The Valley Regional girls’ basketball program has had a long and storied history of both prominent teams and incredible individual players who have laced ‘em up and driven the lanes in the Warriors’ gym. Senior Abby Bradbury has now cemented her name in that pantheon of proficiency by reaching a critical career mark.
On Jan. 24, in front of the home fans at Valley Regional High School in a 68-11 rout of Hale-Ray, Abby earned her own piece of Warriors’ basketball history. While the shooting guard notched a solid performance of 27 points, seven steals, six rebounds, and five assists, Abby crossed over the 1,000 career-point threshold.
“It was really special for me. It meant a lot to me; all the girls made posters, and they stopped the game when I hit it,” said Bradbury. “I needed 26 points to reach it entering the game, and I was on a hot streak shooting-wise. I was a point away, and they ran a play for me, and I hit the layup. It was great to do it on my home court. The parents, my coaches, and teammates made it special. This was a goal of mine since freshman year, and I worked hard towards it, so I am happy to reach it.”
Last season as a junior, Abby was named First Team All-Shoreline and to the All-State Team. She was also bestowed with the Team MVP award as well, for a Warriors’ squad that amassed 22 total victories as a Shoreline Conference finalist and state tournament semifinalist. Individually, it was a sensational season that helped set the stage for the grand milestone this winter.
“I realized 1,000 was a possibility after last year when I looked at my point total,” Bradbury said. “I saw I scored like over 400 points last season. I didn’t think I scored that much, so reaching 1,000 was one of my main goals for this year.”
The 1K feat comes with little shock and great admiration from Valley girls’ hoops Head Coach Jaimie Bickelhaupt, noting that her senior captain gives her all not just to the sport but also to her teammates and club.
“Abby joined us her sophomore year and has just been so fun to coach,” said Bickelhaupt. “She works at the sport year-round; she asks questions, she pushes her teammates to be better, she wants to stay after or come early often, and she’s a leader on and off the floor. She’s grown so much as a player and a person. I’m happy to see her hard work pay off.”
While Abby had to fight through the adjustment period during her rookie campaign under the added layer of COVID-19, she discovered mentally to not think everything had to fall upon her and emerged from it as a physically well-rounded scorer with a diverse skill set.
“Coming in during sophomore year with it being a shortened year due to COVID, Abby had to learn a new system while jelling with a new team, and that was hard,” said Coach Bickelhaupt. “She learned to trust her teammates in that season, knowing this is a team sport, and if she wants to win championships, she needs them just as much as they need her. She worked on quick release shots, taking the ball strong to the basket, and finding her teammates, and that helped us get to the conference championship and state semis last year. Coming into this year, she worked on finishing through contact, using her left side more, and becoming a more diverse player with her moves. Every year she has added something new to her game, which makes her hard to guard.”
While Abby loves to tickle the twine of the net, she exhibits the perfect traits of a selfless leader and teammate who is equally enjoying passing the rock around to her fellow Warriors.
“There is no greater feeling than hitting an open three-point shot,” Bradbury said. “I also like making my way to the basket, scoring, and getting the and-1 with the foul. I am always looking for passing options because basketball is a team sport. My shooting and ball handling has gotten a lot better over the years.”
Bickelhaupt added that her development as a teammate and leader on and off the floor is another accomplishment to marvel at from afar. She has grown into a leader that embodies all the desirable intangibles.
“Her sophomore year, Abby was quiet and timid when it came to leadership. She was learning to play with these girls without stepping on toes, even though she was one of the best players on the court at all times,” said Bickelhaupt. “I named her a captain her junior year because of her dedication to the sport and the example she set. She always led by example and started to find her voice her junior year. I think being so successful in that season really helped build her confidence in that aspect. She’s learning to be a great communicator, holding teammates accountable, being on time, and setting the example for others to follow.”
Whether pulling up for a shot, taking it to the hole, or hanging with teammates after practices, Abby always delivers in a game and exhibits one of the basic and true tenets of why many participate in high school athletics.
“Without Abby, I don’t know if we would be as successful as we are as a program,” Bickelhaupt said. “Don’t get me wrong; we have some great talent in our program. She brings a dynamic to the floor that other teams have to respect, which opens up the floor for others to score. She knows the game and sees the floor extremely well. Abby is constantly looking for her teammates to score. She also brings a sense of competitiveness and drive to practice every day. Off the court, she’s just fun to be around. She’s always laughing, joking, and making the younger girls feel welcomed. It makes coming to basketball, whether practice or a game, fun. And that’s ultimately why we play, right?”
Lastly, Abby stated that she has logged a lot of miles in the lanes through the years with her teammates, creating a familiar feel on and off the floor for a close-knit Valley club.
“This team is really special; it is a great group of girls,” said Bradbury. “We have played together for so long, so they know how to read me and read off of me out there. We also have tight bonds off the court because these girls are some of my best friends. I would not want to have a high school career with any other girls.”