MONETTE — Buffalo Island Central coach Trevor Matheny said he felt confident this season whenever Hadlie Goodson launched a shot, no matter how far the freshman guard was from the basket.
Goodson, the Best Under The Sun Newcomer of the Year in girls’ basketball, justified her coach’s confidence by knocking down one field goal attempt after another. She ended the season shooting 44 percent beyond the 3-point line while averaging 15.1 points per game for the Lady Mustangs.
“She’s a great player in general. She came in big for us as a freshman and played some big minutes,” Matheny said. “She had a small injury early on, missed a game or two, but as soon as we kind of let her off the leash and let her go do her thing, she played a huge role for us.
“It probably wasn’t the same as she’s used to; I think last year as an eighth-grader she was maybe their point guard in junior high. This year we asked her to play that off-the-ball role some and look to get her shot up any time we got an opportunity.”
Goodson scored 20 points or more in seven games and reached double figures in 23 for the Lady Mustangs, who finished with a 17-15 record. She also added three rebounds, two assists and two steals per game.
Coaches in the 2A-3 voted Goodson to the all-state and all-conference teams. After scoring 25 points in a tournament loss to Rivercrest, she earned All-NEA honors.
“I felt like it was a very, very successful season. I could not have done it without my teammates,” Goodson said. “It was a lot better than what I thought it was going to be. I knew that I had the ability to play up, but it went better than what I thought.”
Matheny, who was hired to replace Chuck Winkelman last summer, said plans were in place for Goodson to join the high school team when he became the Lady Mustangs’ coach.
“I took over in August and Coach Winkelman and her parents had already sat down and talked,” Matheny said. “When I came in, I just gave them a call and made sure they were OK with it. We felt together that she had maxed out her potential in junior high and it was time to move forward and see what she could do at the next level.”
It didn’t take long for Goodson to discover the high school game was different from what she experienced in the eighth grade.
“I noticed that the pace of the game was a lot faster than junior high,” she said. “That was really the difference, more aggressive players, things like that.”
Goodson had back-to-back 20-point games against Corning and Marked Tree early in the season. Other 20-point games before Christmas came against Rivercrest (20) and Earle (23).
Conference champion Riverside held Goodson in check when the teams met at Lake City in early January, but she scored 21 points against the Lady Rebels less than two weeks later in Monette. Few opposing players scored as many against Riverside, which held opposing teams to less than 36 points per game.
“She did a real good job of getting going against Riverside here,” Matheny said. “There, they kind of slowed her down a little bit and that was the difference in the ballgame, but here we played them a lot closer and a lot of that was her getting to put the ball in the hole.”
Goodson scored a season-high 28 points against Marmaduke as the Lady Mustangs defeated the Lady Greyhounds 59-45.
Matheny said coaching the second half was easy with Goodson on her way to eight 3-point baskets.
“She figured out well toward the end of the year how to use a screen properly, to come off of it and get that opportunity when she was looking to shoot,” Matheny said. “That Marmaduke game, we were double-high picking all the fourth quarter, it seemed like, for her. I told her to let it fly. That’s what we wanted. She did a really good job of doing that.”
While the Lady Mustangs’ season ended in the district tournament with a loss to Bay, the ball is still bouncing for Goodson. She trains in Jonesboro and plays summer basketball for Southeast United of Memphis.
Goodson also plays golf – she was the 2A-3 conference medalist and was part of a BIC team that placed fourth in the Class 2A state tournament last fall – but said she focuses on basketball most of the time.
“Basketball is her thing. She wants to get a college scholarship,” Matheny said.
Goodson said she went to camps at Ole Miss, Arkansas State and Louisiana Tech last year. She recently attended a camp at Christian Brothers and is planning to go to Ole Miss, ASU and Murray State this summer.
And when classes resume at BIC, Goodson is looking forward to her sophomore year with the Lady Mustangs. “I’m looking forward to it. I’m ready to play,” she said. “Even though we lost our point guard, I feel like we’ll still be very strong as a team. I’m really excited to play again.”