By Jim Hintelmann |
MIDDLETOWN – Although she will play only field hockey at Mercy College (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.) this fall, Middletown North’s Hailee Hallard’s biggest moment in high school was in basketball.
Hallard shattered the school’s career scoring record (boys and girls) last February in a 53-46 win over Colts Neck when she made a layup to break the mark.
“That was really exciting for me “ said Hallard, who finished her four-year varsity career with 1,534 points, including 543 this season as North went 16-11 despite playing a rugged schedule.
“However, I couldn’t have done it without the help of my teammates, coaches, family and friends,” she said.
Due to a slight drop in enrollment, North competed in the smaller “B” Division North this year for the first time, but that was no help to the Lions as state powers Manasquan and Red Bank Catholic were in that division.
“We played both teams twice and lost, but we played well against RBC in our second game with them,” said Hallard, who had a career individual high of 39 points against Long Branch.
“I think our best team was in my sophomore year when we reached the Group IV sectional semifinals, but we lost to Middletown South, which went on to win the title.”
“Hailee is a very competitive player,” said North girls basketball coach Ed Jones, who stepped down this year after almost 40 years of coaching. “She worked very hard and paid the price in the off-season, but she had a great year for us.”
Hallard, a four year varsity starter in field hockey, had good seasons all four years scoring 34 and 32 respectively in her final two years. Her career high was seven goals against Manalapan in her junior year.
“I love playing field hockey,” she said. “It’s very intense and we all play as a team.”
North had a 14-6 record last fall and finished second in the “B” Division North to Freehold Township in the division, but it could have better.
“We were looking forward to the season because we had a lot of good seniors coming back,” said Hallard. “We worked very hard in the off-season with 6 a.m. practices, even if it was raining.”
The difficult practice schedule seemed to pay off when North won its first 12 games, six of them by shutout.
“Our best game of the year was against Freehold,” said Hallard. “We scored the only goal of the game early and our defense held on the win.”
The streak was snapped in a 3-1 loss to Freehold Township and that led to a second half slump that saw the Lions lose five of their last seven games.
“We beat all of the good teams in our division in our first games with them,” said Hallard, “but we lost most of the rematches. We didn’t have any injuries. I just think they made some adjustments.
The season ended with a 4-2 loss to Summit in the quarterfinals of the NJSIAA Section 2, Group 3 Tournament.
“No excuses. They just had a better team,” said Hallard, who scored both of the North goals.
Hallard does well in the classroom and is a consistent Honor Roll student.
“My favorite subject is Science.” She said. “I’m also involved in Student Government and Civic Leadership.”
Hallard will leave for school Saturday and hopes to play field hockey this season for Mercy.
“They have a good field hockey program and the school is close to home,” said Hallard, “but they are rebuilding this year. I’ll probably major in either Accounting or Homeland Security.”
Although looking ahead to college, Hallard admits that she will be missing high school.
“I’ll definitely miss it, along with my friends,’ she admitted. “I always had a good time in high school.”
This article was first published in the August 10-17, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.
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