The best girls basketball player in the NHIAA has made her college decision, as Madison Springfield of Conant High has verbally committed to Holy Cross. Springfield was a first team all-state selection as a freshman, leading Conant to the D-III Final Four. Then she transferred to Marianpolis Prep for her sophomore season and was a NEPSAC all-star. Now Springfield is a junior back at Conant. The Orioles are undefeated and Springfield recently scored her 1,000th career point. She had 3 scholarship offers before playing her first high school game as a freshman. Springfield had a slew of D-I offers, and this fall narrowed her choices down to Rhode Island, Marist, Dartmouth and Holy Cross. She accepted Holy Cross' offer on Saturday.
"The recruiting process for me was a difficult process which started the summer before my freshman year at Conant" said Springfield, a 5-foot-11 guard. "I was relieved to get it over with. I got to meet so many awesome coaches and players, and it was so hard to turn schools down that I had developed such a close relationship with. There are so many incredible schools out there so it took me a while to narrow down my choices. What made me narrow down my choices was laying out all the things I like in a school from distance, education, coaching staff, etc. This allowed me to cross off other schools that didn't fit my preferences. What made me choose Holy Cross was the distance, education, coaching staff, players, and the school's rich traditions in academics and athletics. Out of my top 4 schools, Holy Cross is the closest, and their high level academics was attractive to me. I wanted my family and friends to be able to come and watch me play. I got along really well with the players there and the coaching staff is amazing and the Patriot League is a league I am very excited to play in."
The last player Holy Cross offered from NH was former Londonderry High star Aliza Simpson, who instead chose UNH and is now a freshman for the Wildcats. Both Simpson and Springfield played AAU for the NE Crusaders.
"Most of my decision came down to a combination of academics, distance and sports" Springfield told the NH Notebook. "Academics comes first because what's most important is graduating with a good degree, and Holy Cross can do that. The school itself has such a rich tradition that I really liked not only in academics but in sports. Coach Gibbons is an awesome coach and has been there for 30 seasons, and the rest of the coaching staff, Ann Mac and Kindyll Dorsey (former New England Crusader coach) have so much knowledge of the game. I cannot wait to play for the Holy Cross coaching staff."
Springfield continues the tradition of basketball excellence in her family. Madison, both of her siblings (sister Brooke and brother Devin) and father David all scored 1,000 points at Conant. Brooke is a senior point guard for SNHU, Devin is a freshman for the Franklin Pierce baseball team and David played basketball at Franklin Pierce. The Springfield family has contributed an immense amount to NH basketball. Good athletes and good people.
"My family has contributed to me in basketball in so many ways" said Madison. "By far, my family has been the biggest factor in where I am today. All my life I have looked up to Brooke and Devin and have aspired to be like them. They have taught me so much about the game, and the extra time you need to put in in order to get to the next level. My dad had been my mentor my entire life, and has dedicated so much of his time to helping me improve. I am so thankful that I have a dad who knows so much about the game, and has the ability to give me advice whenever I need it. My mom has always been my biggest fan, and has driven me to so many AAU tournaments, it's unbelievable. My family is what drives me to be the best that I can be. There is no better feeling than making my family proud."
With Springfield leading the way, the Conant girls basketball team is 13-0 (16-0 including holiday tournament). They recently beat defending champs Campbell by 19, and have won 6 games by 30 points or more. Conant is the favorite to win the D-III title this year. With Springfield only being a junior and many other key players being underclassmen (junior forward Sarah Gonsalves, freshman guard Eva Hodgson, sophomore guard Megan Wheeler and sophomore forward Grace Chadbourne), don't be surprised if this team goes undefeated this season and next year as well.
"The team I'm on this year at Conant is like no other team I've been on before" explained Springfield. "Never have i been on a team as selfless as this team. We all want each other to do well and we always make the extra pass. We are so supportive of one another and we are not afraid to push each other in practice in order to improve as a team. I love these girls, and we would go through a brick wall for one another. In order for us to win it this year, we will need to improve on our toughness, never let up in practice and keep improving each and every day. We need to never be satisfied and always hungry."
Not only that, but Springfield will be even more focused now that she has committed to Holy Cross and the weight of her recruitment if off her shoulders. She has accomplished so much already, but it's only the beginning.
"I would like to thank many coaches who have helped me along the way, my Crusader coaches - Maureen LaRoche, Lauren Moore, Kim Benzan, Kara Leary and my coach at Conant freshman year, Nick Hill" Springfield concluded.