Hourigan a Valuable Asset for Millis Girls’ Hoop Team

KEN HAMWEY Staff Sports Writer
Meaghan Hourigan is a top-notch competitor and a plus for any team she represents. Those two state championships and four sectional crowns are fitting reminders of the value she brings to an athletic program.
Issue Date: 
February, 2018
Article Body: 

Meaghan Hourigan’s tournament experience and success could play a role in helping the Millis girls’ basketball team to more playoff success.
The 5-foot-7 co-captain has been on three basketball squads that won sectional titles. In state tournaments, the shooting guard was a dependable freshman reserve on coach Dave Fallon’s contingent that beat Fenway for the state crown. And, for the two years that followed, she competed in the state final as a sophomore and the state semifinals as a junior.
Hourigan also knows what championships are all about in soccer. A midfielder turned striker last fall, the 18-year-old senior was a definite contributor on coach Steve Bailen’s squad that won a sectional title before defeating Millbury for the state championship. Previously in soccer, she gained playoff experience in sectionals as a freshman and junior.
“I’m grateful for what we’ve achieved in the tournaments in basketball and soccer,’’ Hourigan said. “I respect what’s been accomplished. As a captain, I try to help younger players understand what it takes to be a champion and what it takes to be a good teammate. My tourney experience hopefully can help others stay calm and know what to expect.’’
The Mohawks are battling for a berth in the basketball playoffs (7-4 record), and if they’re to qualify, Hourigan likely will be a key component. She’s averaging 13.5 points a game, but more importantly, it’ll be her leadership and experience that factor into the equation for a young and small Millis quintet.
“Meaghan understands the game, and she’s got great court awareness,’’ Fallon said. “She’s a captain who’ll be vocal and challenge her teammates, if needed. As a player, she can shoot threes, create her own shot and drive to the hoop. She’s also quick off the dribble and very athletic. Her previous tourney experience is also a plus.’’
A Tri Valley League honorable mention choice last year after averaging 12.5 points, Hourigan’s goals this season are lofty but realistic. “We’ve moved up to Division 3, so the competition will be a bit tougher,’’ she emphasized. “But, we can win the TVL Small Division title and also qualify for the sectional title. If we’re fortunate to get to the states, we’ll focus on doing our best. As for me personally, my goals are to be a strong captain, improve my scoring stats and aim to be a league all-star.’’
A player with a high basketball IQ and an ability to switch to the point if necessary, Hourigan can pass effectively and play solid defense. “Where I can keep improving is my ball-handling skills and my rebounding,’’ she noted.
Hourigan rates Lydia Flaherty and Abby Clark as quality teammates, and she’s also a big fan of Fallon’s style. “Lydia is a captain who plays solid at the point,’’ Hourigan said. “She’s got experience, plays good defense and her ball-handling and passing is sharp. Abby is a 5-11 center who can rebound and shoot. She’s also got experience. Coach Fallon is a terrific motivator who prepares us well and focuses on lots of detail and knows strategy.’’
Hourigan’s best games have been a 12-point effort against Whitinsville-Christian last year in the sectionals and a one-point loss to Maynard this season. “Against Whitinsville-Christian, we all played well on offense and defense,’’ she said. “The win enabled us to move into the sectional final, where we won against Douglas. This year, my best game was against Maynard. I scored 21 points and had five three-pointers, six assists and three steals.’’
Personal accolades are always memorable, and Hourigan has her share. The TVL all-star recognition last year is cherished along with being named the team’s offensive player of the year last season. But, winning a state title in soccer last fall was exceptional.
“The soccer championship was the best feeling I could have,’’ Hourigan said enthusiastically. “I was a played a part and was a contributor. We all played so well, and it was a great way to finish up my soccer career at Millis. What’s memorable is that we reached every goal we set.’’
A good student, Hourigan hopes to major in interior design in college. So far, she hasn’t decided on a collegiate destination, but she’s already gained acceptance to the University of Alabama.
Hourigan, who also plays varsity tennis, relies on a competitive philosophy that focuses on hard work, achievement, enjoyment and reaching one’s potential. “If all those things come into play, then winning will follow,’’ she notes. “Playing sports helps you to understand team spirit and helps you to learn good life lessons. I’ve been on both sides of winning and losing, and sports can help you overcome adversity. I’ve also learned leadership skills in athletics.’’
Calling her parents (Donna and John) role models for their support and encouragement, Hourigan will continue to strive to help Millis gain more laurels in basketball. She’s acutely aware that teams like Medway, Hopkinton and Medfield are strong foes, but she’ll continue to work hard to sharpen her three-point shooting, her dribble penetration to the hoop and her leadership skills.