Not many players can say they made the game-winning shot in a state championship basketball game - Bedford High's Haley Driscoll can. Driscoll made first team-all state last year as a junior, then ended the season by hitting a runner inside for the game-winning shot as Bedford defeated Bishop Guertin for the Division I state title.
Driscoll is now trying to lead the Bulldogs to a second straight championship as a senior, but she already has her plans set for next year. Driscoll has committed to Colby College in Maine, where she will continue her basketball career for the Mules.
"When I began the college process my main focus was towards the NESCAC schools due to the strong academic environment and competitive basketball conference" said Driscoll, a 5-foot-10 forward. "I looked at a handful of schools but in the end, the top schools I was looking at were Colby, Bowdoin, Vassar (not in the NESCAC), and Connecticut College. I came to the decision to attend Colby after my official overnight visit with the basketball team. Through my visit I learned exactly what I wanted in a school. Colby has a great balance of academics and athletics as well as a sense of community that allows the students to thrive. The basketball team was upbeat, supportive and a tight knit group and Coach Veilleux was very positive and encouraging to the team. The combination of the academic environment with the basketball team made my decision to attend Colby very easy."
Driscoll is one of the leaders for a Bedford High girls basketball team that not only won the D-I state title last year but has all 5 starters and 7 of their top 8 players back from last year's championship team as well. They are undefeated so far this season, and are the heavy favorites to repeat as champs.
"The Bedford team is not like any team I have ever been a part of" Driscoll told the NH Notebook. "They are the most supportive, determined and hard working girls but more than that they are a group of my closest friends. I have been playing with the seniors now for 7 years and we are very close. We all push each other in practices and games to be better basketball players and off the court we have each others backs. Winning the championship last year with this group of girls was something very special for me. We grew up together thinking, hoping, and working hard to make it happen so when we finally accomplished our goal together, the feeling was indescribable."
Driscoll has worked extremely hard over past four years to become one of the state's top rated recruits.
"Over the past four years of my high school and AAU career I have had multiple coaches both push and support me" explained Driscoll. "Through the Bedford High School program, Coach Thomas has really pushed me to be stronger both mentally and physically on the court. She has high expectations but these expectations drive me to be the best player I can be and accomplish things I never thought I could. Through my experience with the Shooting Stars, Coach Jeremy Faulkner has really helped me to develop into the player I am today. I started playing for him my freshman year and he gave me the confidence and skills I needed to improve as a player. The constant support from both Coach Faulkner and Coach Thomas allowed me to thrive as a player and accomplish one of my goals of playing basketball in college. Also, without the constant support of my parents through both AAU and high school basketball, I would not be where I am today."
Colby College competes in the New England Small College Conference (NESCAC), or sometimes referred to as the 'Little Ivies'. These schools, especially Colby College are among the top academic schools in the country.
"My enjoyment of the learning experience combined with a lot of hard work has helped me achieve my goals in the classroom" said Driscoll. "My grade point average is a 4.23. At Colby I plan on being a science major and a math minor and potentially pursuing the pre-med track."
At 5-foot-`10 Driscoll has the ability to play inside or out. She had a breakout season as a sophomore, and that's when she really started to dominate inside with her scoring and rebounding. Since then she has expanded her game to the perimeter, being able to handle the basketball, drive and shoot it. Driscoll has good fundamentals and while she looks for her shot she doesn't force anything either.
"Based on my discussions with Coach Veilleux at Colby, my expectations are to play primarily from the from the perimeter, facing the basket, but contributing from the post as well" Driscoll concluded. "I like playing from the perimeter as it provides opportunities to drive to the basket to score and to pass. Playing the post offers more opportunities to rebound which has been a strength of my game."
Congratulations to Driscoll, and best of luck to her at Colby College.