Holly Hoopingarner’s high school basketball career stands at 90 games, 1,510 points and is packed with fond memories.
The 5-foot-4 point guard has been a constant in Greenwood’s starting lineup since midway through her freshman season and is the program’s all-time leading scorer.
That is one of many records Hoopingarner will leave with once the Woodmen season is over.
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“I thought when I came in as a freshman that, ‘Oh, my gosh, these four years are going to take forever.’ But they have flown by, unfortunately, because I’ve really enjoyed them,” said Hoopingarner, who averages team-highs in points (24.4), assists (2.6) and steals (2.5) entering tonight’s regular-season finale at Center Grove.
“The best part of my career has been seeing how I developed as a player and how the team has changed and developed,” she said. “Just all the work we’ve put in since our freshman year, how we’ve all developed as players and stayed together.”
She was named the Daily Journal’s Player of the Year as a sophomore and an All-County Team selection a year ago and already had eclipsed 1,000 career points by the end of the 2014-2015 season.
Scoring 31 points in Friday night’s 79-35 Mid-State Conference victory at Decatur Central made Hoopingarner the 191st player in Indiana girls high school basketball history to reach 1,500 points.
Former Greenwood coach Debbie Guckenberger said it’s an honor befitting the hard work and character exemplified by Hoopingarner throughout her career.
“Holly is an exceptional young lady both on and off the court. She is the type of young lady you want your daughter to grow up to be like. I could go on for days about her qualities,” said Guckenberger, now in her first season as Brownsburg’s girls basketball coach. “As a player her work ethic is second to none.
“She works out at game speed whenever she touches a basketball, which is multiple hours a day year-round. She is the consummate teammate, she makes people around her better not just as players, but as people.”
When she became a starter during the 2012-2013 season, Hoopingarner found herself in a lineup with four seniors.
Her role was to handle the basketball, play in-your-face defense and produce points only when the situation allowed for an 18-5 Woodmen squad that advanced to the championship game of their Class 4A sectional.
Hoopingarner almost quadrupled her offensive production a year later when she averaged 19.4 points per contest.
“My freshman year I was definitely more of a role player,” she said. “I played my minutes, and passing was more my thing. Ever since my sophomore season it’s changed and I’ve kind of become the leader of the team.”
Hoopingarner has gone on to establish other team records, such as points in a single game (42 in an 80-69 win over Franklin Community in December) and most points in a single season (487 this season). This season alone she has scored 25 or more points in 12 games.
She is a strong candidate to be the first Greenwood girls basketball player named to the Indiana All-Star Team in June. She has earned a 4.2 grade-point average and signed to play at IUPUI.
Greenwood takes a 12-9 record into tonight’s game under first-year coach Lee Taft, who knew he was inheriting a special player with the return of Hoopingarner.
“Holly may only be 5-4, but she’s got the strength of a post player, and I don’t think people who don’t understand the dynamics of the game understand how important that is. When I talk to young kids I say you need to get stronger because that makes everything you do that much simpler,” Taft said.
“She’s able to create shots in traffic very easily and worked hard in the off-season to develop a really nice jump shot. That part of her game has opened up.”
More than anything, it’s Hoopingarner’s drive to make her team successful that makes her special.
“Any time we’re playing a team that has another great player, Holly never backs down to guard them. That’s not always the case with high-level players,” Taft said. “They want to play on the offensive end. They don’t want to play defense.”
THE HOOPINGARNER FILE
Name: Holly Hoopingarner
Born: Denver, Colorado
Family: Parents, Todd and Kris; brother, Drew, 22
Favorite TV show: Grey’s Anatomy
Favorite food: Italian
Favorite movie: “Love and Basketball”
Favorite athlete: Steph Curry
Favorite team: Indianapolis Colts