Haley Ward didn’t wow people with statistics this winter. The Winslow senior didn’t average 20 points a night, flirt with triple-doubles all season long or emerge as the dominant post player in the league.

What Ward did do, however, was provide the engine for the Black Raiders’ Class B state championship win, taking on whatever role was necessary — night in and night out — to ensure that Winslow would win its first state championship in 13 years.

“With the potential we had on this team and the amazing things we were capable of, I was willing to do whatever it took,” Ward said. “When we needed just a little extra push — being a senior and a senior leader — I felt like I needed to be the one to step up and make that push.”

For her efforts, Ward has been selected as the Morning Sentinel Girls Basketball Player of the Year.

Messalonskee’s Gabrielle Wener was also considered.

Ward’s numbers were solid this season. She averaged more than 10 points per game for a team that averaged 49 for the season, had nearly four rebounds per game and shot 46 percent from the field.


But the intangibles that Ward — who played two years at Cony before moving to Winslow prior to her junior year — brought were more difficult to measure.

When the Black Raiders were on their game, it was no coincidence that Ward was on hers, too.

“Absolutely,” Winslow coach Lindsey Withee said. “Whenever we had success, Haley brought that success. Even if she wasn’t playing well in a quarter here or there, she’d step up in the second half by getting a couple of rebounds or making a defensive stop.

“Haley shines when she needs to shine.”

It wasn’t always easy for Ward. Generously listed at 5-foot-8, she was Winslow’s low post presence, often giving away several inches and several pounds to more traditional centers around the league.

“The type of game we wanted to play was hard-fought, grind-it-out type of wins,” Ward said. “We knew that nine out of 10 times we were going to have a size disadvantage, so the little things mattered that much more. We had to box out better, get further out on help side (defense), and that’s what helped us in the postseason.”


Because Ward wasn’t a true post player — though it’s what she grew up playing — she called upon a key element in her game: Stepping to the perimeter to hit mid-range and long-range jump shots.

Ward shot 43 percent from 3-point range this season.

“As everybody got older, everybody else got taller,” Ward said. “When I played on an AAU team (in seventh grade), I played point guard. Getting that exposure and experience, having that when I was younger, I think helped me.”

So what Ward brought to Winslow was a certain versatility the Black Raiders grew to count on: Rebounds. Inside buckets. Steals. 3-pointers. Key free throws late in games.

It all added up to a player who wasn’t going to wow you with a final stat line, but who left everybody recognizing the significant influence she’d had on games.

“With so many amazing players around me, I didn’t have 20 points a game,” Ward said. “We had players who could get offensive or defensive boards. I tried to do whatever it was we needed.


“Honestly, I’d choose that type of position 10 times out of 10, all day every day.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.