HUDSON — After former Hudson girls basketball coach Beth Bagley stepped down in November, longtime boys assistant coach Marty Murphy stepped up.
Murphy had served on the staff of boys basketball head coach Mike Notaro for the last eight seasons. When the girls job opened up, he decided to take it.
"It all came together rather quickly," said Murphy following the Hawks’ 54-31 win over AMSA Thursday night. "The good thing for me was that I was already over here and established as a coach, so I know the facility, I know the people, I know the kids somewhat so it was an easy transition."
Prior to Murphy coming over to Hudson eight years ago as the boys assistant coach, Murphy spent roughly 20 years coaching AAU Basketball and Northborough Youth Travel basketball. The Clinton High School grad also got his first coaching gig as the freshman girls basketball coach at his alma mater when he was just out of college.
Even though his first season as the Hudson girls basketball coach has been unpredictable due to COVID-19, Murphy has the Hawks off to a strong 4-1 start.
"What I really like is their intensity," Murphy said. "Their hustle, their grit and determination. They just want to work really hard and put an importance on being the first ones to get to a rebound. The first ones to a loose ball and I love that about them. They are not afraid to get on the floor, they are not afraid to play defense.
"Everything starts defensively and they buy into that and that's what good teams do."
His team has also bought into his philosophy of a fast-tempo offense and man-to-man defense.
"The joke that I use with them is giving them the keys to the car," said Murphy, whose late brother, John, played basketball at UMass under Jack Leaman in the early 1970s. "Once we set it in motion and have five kids running and then on the defensive end have that same effort. ...
"Defensively, I think its important to play man-to-man defense because there are a lot of great shooters in Central Mass."
While Murphy primarily believes and likes to play a run-and-gun offense, he also knows that there are times when it is necessary to slow things up offensively.
"You have to be able to play a bunch of different ways," Murphy said.
Something that his players appreciate is how he challenges and pushes them to the best of their abilities.
FINAL: @HHSHawksAD 54, @AMSA_Athletics 31
Maddie Kiley (12 points), Grace Giorgio (13 points) talk about the team’s strong start under 1st-year head coach Marty Murphy. @MetroWestSports pic.twitter.com/Xu6Wk7Nxm7
— Ethan Winter (@EWints) January 14, 2022
"He really pushes us," Grace Giorgio said. "Even when we are at our best, he tells us 'this isn't it, you have to keep going.' That's what he said (on Thursday), 'just keep going and keep pushing.'"
Hudson got off to a fast start in the first quarter building a 22-12 lead after the first eight minutes of play. The Hawks continued to build their lead in the second and third quarters as they went into the break with a 35-18 lead and entered the fourth quarter up 48-25.
"We had a pretty good practice the day before," junior Maddie Kiley said.
"Our defense was strong which helped contribute to our offense," Giorgio added.
Hudson did a good job spreading the ball around as eight different players scored and three players scored in double-figures led by Kiley (12 points) and Giorgio (13 points). Eighth-grader Kristina Bruce chipped in with 11 points for the Hawks.
"They are great kids and leaders first and great basketball players second," Murphy said. "They've created a culture of everyone is part of this and its a team effort. They might have been the lead dogs (Thursday) night, but we are moving the ball around and getting everybody involved and they set an example of never taking a practice off and mail it in. They just work hard everyday."
Ethan Winter is a senior multimedia sports journalist at the Daily News. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @EWints.
This article originally appeared on MetroWest Daily News: MetroWest Daily News Hudson girls basketball new coach Marty Murphy