Okemos 8th grader competes in the 2018 Elite Girls Basketball All-American Game

Okemos 8th grader competes in the 2018 Elite Girls Basketball All-American Game

OKEMOS - One eighth grade student from Okemos was able to showcase her basketball talent in the 2018 Elite Girls Basketball Middle School All-American game, and HOMTV’s Janise Packnet shares her story.

She’s one of the top basketball players in her class, she’s aggressive, she’s competitive and she’s only in the eighth grade.

“The first time I saw her play was during lunch shoot around,” said Andre Ridley, who is the Assistant Principal at Chippewa Middle School in Okemos. “She was playing one on one with one of our better boy athletes and she did a crossover move and took him to the basket and it just shocked me.”

Although Haley Henion is a leader outside of the court, it’s her steady, tough, and hardnose style of play that helps her stand out on the court.

“Yes, she’s a passionate player. She’s aggressive, she loved competition, she loves to win, [and] she loves to develop her skills,” said Andy Henion, who is Haley’s father. “I always connotate her with Russell Westbrook, that kind of player who just loves to go hard all game, go hard to the rim and challenge their opponent, with a big drive to win.”

Ever since she could walk she’s tried almost every extra curricular activity. She’s danced, she’s played soccer and she has played softball.

She picked up organized basketball in second grade and that has been her focus.

“I like playing basketball because it gives me confidence sometimes when other things don’t,” said Haley Henion. “I feel really good about myself when I play and it’s just really fun to me, I just love the sport in general.”

She’s a hard worker that is constantly trying to develop her skills.

“One she’s been very consistent but I see her hard work on and off the court,” said Ridley. When practice is over she’s still there playing or talking to coach one on one with some ideas or things she’d like to try or even consider.

And that hard work led her to be selected to play in the 2018 Elite Girls Basketball Middle School All-American game.

“It was really humbling to get picked, because it’s against the best girls in the country,” said Haley Henion. “It’s a lot of fun and it’s the most elite level I played me whole career in basketball.”

“Over the course of the three games she came a long way,” said Mr. Henion. In the final game she did hold her own. She scored some baskets, made some assist, was down there fighting for rebounds.”

Haley said that being selected to play in that game has been the biggest achievement so far in her career, and in September she’ll be headed to high school where she hopes to make the varsity team as a freshman.

“She’s came a long way in being a leader now she gets her teammates involved now she’s a great floor leader now she hits the open girl, runs the offense,” said Mr. Henion. “You know her defense has come along, playing very tough defense this whole year [it’s] very good to see her develop her whole game and to also be a leader on the court.”

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