BERLIN - The future for the Berlin girls basketball team looks bright and when looking back, it could be this past season as the reason the Redcoats are a program on the rise.
And Berlin did so without the presence of many veteran players. Instead, the team relied on a number of freshmen and sophomores on its way to a 12-8 regular season record and trip to the semifinals of the CCC Tournament.
One sophomore in particular has being doing especially well - Lyzi Litwinko.
“She can do it all on the court and is the player the other teams have to worry about night after night,” Berlin head coach Shelia King said. “Lyzi is an exciting and amazing player to watch and as only a sophomore, she has exhibited leadership skills well beyond her age and grade. Her play is selfless and makes those around her better. She has started every game since freshman year. She is a motivator and leader for her teammates and in this, just her sophomore year she served as one of our tri-captains.”
This season alone, Litwinko led the Redcoats in scoring, rebounds and assists, averaging 15 points, seven rebounds and four assists per game. She was 63 percent from the free throw line and finished the year scoring 671 points on her way to her second All-CCC selection.
But to those on the team and her coach, Litwinko’s success is not a surprise or out of nowhere. Litwinko grew up around the gym and has been involved with basketball since she could remember.
“The reason I got involved [in basketball] was because both my older sister and brother played,” Litwinko said. “When I was younger, I watched my sister Amber work hard to grow and get better as a player and I wanted to be just like her.”
“Lyzi has dedicated herself to the game of basketball,” King said. “It is the game she loves and her work ethic and desire for daily improvement makes that obvious. She has many skills in her pocket. She is a strong and crafty ball handler, drives incredibly well and has developed an outside shot with good range.”
That drive has made Litwinko more than just an offensive threat, but an all-around player. She loves to play defense, create turnovers and rebound the ball. Throughout the season, she has taken on some of the toughest competitors.
As a result, she was named the team’s MVP to go along with her all-conference honor.
“Being named MVP felt really good,” Litwinko said. “I’ve put a lot of work into basketball and it’s good to see that people recognize that.”
This season, Litwinko’s most memorable moment was her game-winning buzzer beating shot during the first round of the CCC Tournament.
The sophomore hit the winning basket with 1.9 seconds left as the Redcoats beat Windsor 43-41.
Litwinko had a game-high of 21 points that evening, with 13 points coming in the fourth quarter. She also went 7-for-7 at the free throw line during that stretch and was 13-for-14 overall.
And just like her team, Litwinko’s future and game are on the rise.
“Her future is bright and we are excited that she has two more years in a Redcoat uniform,” King said. “Her game is limitless. After all that is said about her exceptional basketball ability, the best and most important thing to know about Lyzi is that she is a better person than she is a player.”
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org