Indianapolis — She may not have stuffed the stat sheet like she did for four years at Zionsville, but that doesn't mean that Maddie Nolan enjoyed her Indiana All-Star experience any less.
The recent Zionsville grad pulled down four rebounds and didn't score a point in Indiana's 76-71 win over Kentucky Saturday night, but Nolan said she enjoyed every second of her week with the All-Stars.
"It was a lot of fun, and a good taste of what college is going to be like," Nolan said. "College will be up a level obviously, but this week we are in the dorms, have a set schedule and all that. It was great getting to hang with everyone and getting to know people on both the girls and boys teams, it was just a lot of fun."
Nolan said more than anything on the court, it was the relationships that she was able to build with the other All-Stars that she will take away the most.
She said that even though she had played with or against these girls for several years, she had never really interacted with some of them until this week.
"I really liked the social aspect a lot," Nolan said. "Obviously the games are fun and winning tonight was great to do on your home court. But being able to represent Indiana means a lot too. But hanging out with everyone for really the first time was cool. You see some of these girls and you know they are really good and they are going to Purdue or IU or another big school, but you don't really get to know them. This week was a really good opportunity to do that."
Nolan scored five points and grabbed four rebounds in the Seniors 97-58 win over the Juniors at New Castle on Wednesday night, but didn't score in Indiana's 79-74 loss to Kentucky on Friday night.
She said the loss on Friday was extra motivation for the All-Stars heading into Saturday's game because they didn't want to get swept by Kentucky.
"It was huge for us to win tonight," Nolan said. "People always talk about Indiana being a basketball state and you come into this weekend wanting to sweep Kentucky. We lost Friday, so we talked about coming out, playing hard and for our fans."
While Nolan was a standout player at Zionsville, she was also the epitome of being a student-athlete and gave back to the community as much as she could.
At halftime of the girls game, she was honored with the the Wooden Citizenship Award, which goes to the All-Star that best shows "exemplary scholarship, community involvement, school citizenship, extracurricular activities and outstanding basketball skills."
"It means a lot to me honestly to win that award," Nolan said. "I don't do the spring break trips and things like that to win awards, but it is cool to have an award like that to show that we don't just play basketball, but we do things in the community and in school too."
Nolan said as she looks back on her time at Zionsville as a student-athlete, it will be some of the things outside of basketball that she remembers the most.
Three times she went on the a spring break trip to help other countries in need (twice to Haiti, once to Nicaragua).
She was also involved in other things around the community and was heavily involved in the Zionsville basketball camps put on every year.
"The first year I did it my mom actually had to force me to sign up and I didn't want to go, but it was my favorite thing I have ever done," Nolan said of her spring break experiences. "Kelly Antcliff (who is the faculty member in charge of the Haiti trip) talks about how basketball will end, but you can always go on trips to help out."
The All-Star games were the cap of a great prep career and a frustrating senior season for Nolan, who missed most of the year with a knee injury.
She admitted Saturday night that her knee was probably only about 75 percent, but she is confident that come next season she will be ready to go at the University of Michigan. She is working with her physical therapist and will come up with a plan with him and the Michigan staff to continue her rehab.
Nolan reports for six weeks on June 29, then starts school officially in September.
"I am a competitive person and I know it is going to be hard up there, but I am excited to go for sure," Nolan said.
As she gets ready for the next chapter in her journey, Nolan was able to reflect some on her time as an Eagle.
Zionsville won 85 games, four sectional titles and their first HCC title with Nolan on the team. Her junior year, the Eagles made a memorable run to the State Finals.
"A lot of people counted us out and we had a lot of players like Kaylee Riggins or Annie Tokarek who really hadn't played my on varsity, and they really stepped up and were a huge reason we were successful," Nolan said of that memorable junior year. "But that entire season was the most fun we have had. We hung out all the time outside of basketball, we really enjoyed each other and it shows what happens when you put in all the hard work."
And while the wins and accolades are nice and memorable, Nolan said like her All-Star experience, what stands out the most about her time at Zionsville is the people and relationships she created.
A lot of those people came to watch her Saturday night.
"I was lucky to have a lot of great teammates and coaches that helped me improve and really wanted to see you succeed," Nolan said. "Luckily we were also successful so it was a great combination. I was really lucky to grow up in a community and have a team as close as Zionsville was. Having everyone out here supporting me was great and I am blessed to have all these people in my life."