Basketball season is a grind. For four grueling months, basketball tends to consume many high schoolers. But for Maddy Wade, basketball season is her break.
The Mahomet-Seymour senior is a soccer star, and the basketball season gives her time to get away from the pitch and play the game she loves.
"I love basketball because some of my best friends come out of the basketball team, and I love to play with them," Wade said. "It's good to get that break because in soccer you have club soccer, then you go straight into spring soccer. So for me, basketball is the mediator between the two. I geta little break from soccer."
Wade was the defensive wizard for the 15-win Lady Bulldogs last year, but she'll be counted on to score at a much higher clip. The savvy senior will be ready to implement her soccer skills on the hardwood.
"With soccer, I'm very aggressive," Wade said. "I have that speed out on the basketball court and that helps me finishing and getting to the basket quickly. Soccer helps me so much. With soccer, it gets me in great shape. Like wonderful shape for basketball. Right into basketball, I'm not behind. I'm ready to go. I have fresh energy. Plus, that aggressiveness, soccer is a very physical sport, and it helps me be fierce on the basketball court and strong with the ball."
"Fierce" is a good way to describe Wade's play. She won't be scared of anyone. Wade's speed will be key in pushing the ball up the floor in transition, and she has great anticipation which could lead to numerous steals.
"Maddy finished (last) year really strong," M-S coach Nathan Seal said. "She continued that in the summer and into the open gyms. I was talking to her last week about how much she's improved. She's a strong player physically. She plays without any fear attacking the basket. She plays that way on the soccer field and the basketball court. She'll be a very important piece for us this year."
Wade is one of five seniors. Lakeida Nichols, Ainsley Jessup, Abigail Kyle and Kailyn Northrup make up the "Senior Squad."
"Us seniors have been playing together since fifth grade, so it's pretty awesome that we all get to still be together and have that senior leadership," Wade said. "Honestly, we're just so close. We've played together forever, so we know each other's strengths and weaknesses which helps us a lot on the offensive end."
All five seniors are unselfish, and they play to each other's strengths.
"The good thing about us is that we're very good at passing the ball and keeping the ball moving side to side," Wade said. "I feel like any of us can score. There's not just one specific person that people can look at and go, 'Oh she's the shooter.' That's going to help us a lot."
Wade and the rest of the seniors have been 'The Class' for a while, but they have yet to break through for a regional championship. Wade is ready to end the drought.
"It would mean so much to us," Wade said. "We've been trying all four years to get that. Back in junior high, that was always our goal. We were really good in junior high, like winning 16 games in a row, and every time we lost we were so disappointed. That would be great for us, especially being seniors under Coach Seal. He's been talking about it since we were in junior high, how we are the strongest group and he really enjoys us and our positivity."
Wade is going to further her athletic career at Parkland for soccer. But with one basketball season left, she'll leave it all out on the floor.
"(Being a senior) has sunk in for sure," Wade said. "Coach Seal has given us a lot of privileges for seniors, and so it's nice to have that voice and get to be a leader of this team."