It was another highly successful season by the area girls basketball teams. Of the seven local teams, five made it to the postseason, while the other two just barely missed out. While the team success was profound, the individual performances were just as noteworthy, if not more so, this season, and those players make up our 2017 All-Herald Girls Basketball Team.
Southington didn’t have the best regular season record among area squads, but it did make the furthest postseason run. Seeded 23rd, the Blue Knights pulled off two big upsets to make it to quarterfinals before their season came to an end. Because of the huge season and tournament run, Southington places two players on our First-Team.
Maggie Meehan is more than deserving as the first player to be recognized. An All-Herald Second-Team honoree last year, Meehan had a huge season, leading the team in scoring, 3-pointers, assists and steals. The guard was the lone senior on Southington and was named to the all-conference team and the All-State team.
Toward the end of the regular season, Meehan crossed the 1,000-point barrier and ended up as the fifth-leading scorer in the program’s history. Off the court she is a member of the National Honor Society and made the Academic All-State team. Next year Meehan will continue her basketball career at Williams College.
Hartlee Meier is the second Blue Knights player on our first-team. A relative unknown entering the season, Meier took on a bigger role and helped bring the team to another level.
The junior averaged 14 points, six rebounds and three assists per game and those numbers were good enough to earn her an all-conference nod.
The shooting guard has also earned first honors throughout her high school career up until this point. Meier is being recruited by Division I and Division II schools to play basketball at the next level but next season she will be one of the leaders for Southington.
Newington was the area team that finished the regular season with the best record, thus earning a high seed in the Class LL tournament. The Indians lost in the first round but still had their most successful season in a decade.
One of the big reasons why was the play of Abrial Murray, who is the third member of the first-team. After missing her junior season with injury, the senior came back and looked like she hadn’t missed a beat.
The shooting guard led the team in scoring, with 13.8 points per game, and added 2.3 rebounds a game despite her small stature. Those numbers made her an all-conference selection.
One of just two seniors on the team, Murray had to have a big impact for Newington as a leader and will leave a lasting impact on the program.
Murray plans to continue her basketball career next year but is unsure where that will be.
New Britain had an up and down season but it was still able to qualify for the postseason in Class LL. One of the keys to that success was Dejia Santana, who makes the All-Herald First-Team for the second straight season.
The senior was a big presence on both offense and defense, as she led the team in scoring, was a huge presence on the glass and blocked a good number of shots. The forward was a focal point in helping the Hurricanes pick up nine victories this season.
Santana was an all-conference selection and is being recruited by schools to continue her basketball career at the next level.
Berlin lost its first six games of the season but still found its way into the postseason tournament. The Redcoats lost in the first round, but Lyzi Litwinko, the final member of our first-team, gave the team a huge jolt and should in the future as well.
In her first season with the team, the point guard put up eye-popping numbers. Litwinko finished the season with averages of 15.1 points, five rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game. The 15.1 points led the team by a wide margin.
Just a freshman, Litwinko made a major impact in her first season of high school basketball. She was the focal point of the offense and should continue to be the next several years. The point guard had a great season and the future looks even brighter as she gains more varsity experience.
The talent pool for local girls basketball players was extremely deep, so picking the first-team was a tough task, as the players on our All-Herald Second-Team were knocking on the door.
New Britain’s Brianna Clarke is the first member of the second-team and her numbers were certainly worthy of first-team consideration. The sophomore finished the season averaging 14 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks per game.
A regular double-double threat and shot intimidator, Clarke will be one of the key pillars for the Hurricanes in the coming years.
The center had a big season on the floor and is also successful off the court. She has made the honor roll two years in a row and was given the Student of the District Award.
Being that she is just a sophomore, Clarke doesn’t have any college plans just yet, but is being recruited by a few colleges to potentially play basketball at the next level.
Joining Clarke on the second-team is teammate Gabby Roy, who makes the second-team for the second straight season.
The Hurricanes liked to play through their bigs, in Clarke and Santana, but Roy still had a huge impact as the point guard that was able to get those players the ball while also being able to run the show and score enough when she needed to.
Just a junior, Roy has already been a three-year varsity basketball player and is a wiley veteran at this point. Next season she will be the clear leader of the team and will form a duo with Clarke that will be tough for other teams to stop.
Next on the second-team is Southington’s Janette Wadolowski, who made the first-team last season. The junior likely would have been a first-teamer again this season, but she missed a good portion of the season with a hand injury.
When Wadolowski was on the floor, though, she put up huge numbers and took the team to another level. She averaged a double-double despite being an undersized forward and helped lead the team to the quarterfinals of the Class LL tournament.
The forward is just a junior, so she will be back to lead the Blue Knights again next year, and if she can stay healthy, the sky is the limit.
Wadolowski is now focusing on basketball full-time and is being recruited to play at the next level.
Next up on the second team is Newington’s Ashanti Frazier. The second freshmen on the girls basketball All-Herald list, Frazier was an all-conference performer.
She averaged 7.3 points per game, which was second on the team, but made a huge impact on the defensive end, where she averaged 2.8 steals.
The Indians had just two seniors, so despite the fact she was brand new to the team, Frazier took on a leadership role and was credited by coaches and teammates for helping the team be as successful as it was.
The point guard will have the reigns of the team for the next three years and her role will only increase as she continues to mature.
Rounding out the All-Herald second-team is Plainville’s Jessica Masco. Under first year head coach Jessica Neuweiler, the Blue Devils made a major improvement in its record, going from three wins to five, and Masco’s improvement coincided with the team’s improvement.
The senior was a constant threat on the offensive end of the floor, while stretching out the defense with her marksmanship from beyond the arc. Her excellent season was worthy of a spot on the all-conference team.
Masco’s effort as a senior has left the Blue Devils in a good position to continue to improve even after she is gone.