03/18/12 — Haggerty grows up, adapts to role

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Haggerty grows up, adapts to role

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on March 18, 2012 1:52 AM

At the root of any successful basketball program is its foundation -- the tradition, hard work and principles that it is built upon.

In its quest to establish a tradition of success, Spring Creek believes it has finally laid its foundation. The Gators had one of their most successful seasons in program history in 2011-12 and saw the fruits of the labor of a senior who refused to give up.

A four-year member of the varsity team, center Adam Haggerty developed from a little-used freshman into a vital part of Spring Creek's turnaround. Haggerty averaged 19 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks a game this season and for his efforts, he has been selected as the 2012 News-Argus All-Area boys' basketball player-of-the-year.

As a freshman, Haggerty was encouraged to join Spring Creek's varsity basketball team by former Gators' assistant and current head coach Taylor Jones. Despite seeing limited minutes in games, Haggerty gained valuable experience in practice against stronger, more-seasoned players.

Knowing Haggerty could use his 6-foot-5 frame to score in the paint against smaller defenders in high school, Jones encouraged Haggerty to expand his offensive abilities to improve his chances of playing in college.

"I told him if he wanted to play in college at his height he had to be able to play on the wing," Jones said. "He put in a lot of hard work to improve his game and I think it showed in the way his game continued to grow."

Haggerty spent countless hours in the gym working on his ball handling and his outside shooting. The results were a more consistent jump shot and the ability to force defenders to guard him away from the basket. Haggerty scored in double figures in 23 of 24 games this season, shot 50 percent from the field and recorded double-digit points and rebounds in 12 different games.

He also benefited from teammate Rashawn Edwards, a 6-5 forward who averaged 16 points and nine rebounds a game.

"When I first started out my freshman year I was basically used in the post," Haggerty said. "Over my four years I've developed into an outside-in player. I shoot the ball a lot better and I can handle it. My confidence is through the roof because of that."

Spring Creek finished 11-14 this season, but earned a pair of wins over Carolina 1-A Conference foe Goldsboro and also defeated Eastern Wayne. The 16th-seeded Gators earned a road win at No. 1 seed Roxboro Community in the first round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs at Roxboro Community.

During Haggerty's first three seasons at Spring Creek, the Gators had never won more than nine games, were winless against perennial powerhouse Goldsboro and had not been to the state playoffs since his freshman season. Not only did Haggerty help deliver two wins over the Cougars and a state playoff victory, he more importantly gave a program eager for tradition the foundation for success it has desperately longed for.

"I think we shut a lot of people up when we won those games," Haggerty said. "I've always known we had the talent, and we hadn't put it together and this year we did. It's a great feeling."