HADDON TOWNSHIP – When it was over and the final horn sounded, Madison Bradley was mobbed by Haddon Township High School girls basketball teammates, and with good reason.
Bradley calmly dropped in two free throws in a one-and-one situation with 2.3 seconds to play as No. 10 Haddon Township outlasted Haddonfield, 39-37, Tuesday night in a Colonial Conference cross-over girls basketball game.
But Bradley was the first to admit the Hawks would not have been in a position to win the come-from-behind contest had it not been for the outstanding all-around performance that included 25 points from Grace Marshall.
“She’s amazing,” said Bradley who scored six points. “She’s the most selfless player ever. We have to tell her to shoot the ball because she just wants to dish it. She makes us all all-round better players.”
Marshall had two quarters in which she virtually single-handedly kept her team in the game – the first in which she scored all of her team’s nine points, and the fourth in which she led the way with 12 points.
If Marshall has to carry the scoring load for the Hawks, it’s a role she says she enjoys.
“Now that I’m a senior I really do feel like I’m a leader” Marshall said. “Sometimes I feel like I do have to carry my team, but really they’re the ones who help me because they always have my back.”
Her effort helped offset Keegan Douglas, who scored 18 points for Haddonfield, which led seven at the half, 22-15.
The Hawks had to battle throughout the second half to overcome that deficit but Marshall and Co., found a way to get it done.
“Haddonfield’s a rival to us,” Marshall said. “We’ve been wanting this win for as long as I can remember. We were so passionate about it and we just worked together. We never gave up at all.”
Like, her teammates, Haddon Township coach Tom Mulligan has come to rely on Marshall for leadership as well as point production. Sometimes he said his heart goes out to her because of the responsibilities she handles.
“She knows she has to carry the weight of the team,” Mulligan said. “A lot of the times Grace just wants to be the distributor and point guard because she just loves that part of the game.
“But there are times when she has to step up and she just had some big time possessions tonight She scores in spurts.”
That was evident in the fourth quarter. With Haddonfield leading 30-26 in the early going, Marshall scored a 3-point goal and a second basket to give her team the lead.
She later added a three-play and another basket as the Hawks took a 37-32 lead, But this time Haddonfield battled back into a tie. Douglas scored one basket and Annie Strahan tacked on a 3-point goal to push the score to 37-37 with 1:39 to play.
Neither team was able to break the tie until Bradley drove to the basket in the closing seconds, drawing a foul.
“I just kind of went down (after being hit) and hoped for the best," Bradley said. “I didn’t even know I’d been fouled until my coach said, `you’ve got a one-and-one.’”
At that point all eyes were on Bradley as she stepped to the line, and everyone said their confidence in her free throw shooting ability was high.
“I was 100 percent confident with Madison on the line,” Marshall said. “We practice foul shots and – especially this year – I’ve noticed she’s been working really hard on it, so I didn’t have any doubts she was going to make it.”
Still shooting free throws in practice and shooting them with the game on the line are two different things.
But, in the end, Bradley said she was up to the challenge.
“It was pretty nerve-wracking,” she said. “But it was fun.”
Haddonfield 10 12 4 11-37
Haddon Twp. 9 6 9 15-39
H: Mavy Kelly 8, Annie Stanton 4, Wayden Ay 5, Keegan Douglas 18.
HT: Grace Marshall 25, Karlee Hart 6, Lindsey Gretzinger 2, MAdison Bradley 6.