SOUTHINGTON - Foot speed - the maximum speed at which a human can run.
All season long, Southington girls basketball head coach Mike Forgione has been preaching about how important of an aspect that is on the court.
“Foot speed is something they’re really going to have to grasp over the summer and come back with,” Forgione said after his team fell in the first round of the Class LL tournament Monday night. “Yeah you have to work on your shooting and your layups and your foul shots, but you have to work on your foot speed. It is an up tempo game.”
But freshman guard, Ali Carr is ahead of the game.
“She developed as a freshman and we didn’t even consider her a freshman late in the year,” Forgione said.
At times, Carr certainly looked like a veteran on the court. In her first varsity season, Carr averaged 7.0 points, 1.8 assists and 7.0 rebounds per game, all three good for second on the team.
Entering the year, it was unclear how much the freshman would contribute. But after the soccer season ended and it was time to get back on the court, Carr set her expectations high. She wanted to play on the varsity team and she wanted to start.
“I was lucky enough to earn my spot and I was really proud about that,” Carr said. “I was terrified for that first varsity game. I was a little bit nervous, but I think that’s normal for everyone. I think that now I have developed and I have learned to play with the players on this team, which really helped me personally. I just have become a better player because of them and I am really grateful for that.”
All season long, Carr has had the chance to play with, watch and learn from All-State senior Janette Wadolowski. With Wadolowski graduating, however, Carr knows next season she’ll have to take on more responsibility.
“Next year I know that Janette will be leaving and that’s going to be a big loss for us, but were just going to have to come back stronger than we ever have,” Carr said. “Janette was a really good team player and captain. It was really great having her. Hopefully next year, I’ll be able to step up and become the leader.”
Forgione believes that Carr has the ability to elevate her game - she needs to.
“She’s going to have to [step up],” Forgione said. “But again, you’re talking about a girl that splits her time. She’s a very good soccer player and a starter for soccer. She does a lot of offseason soccer, but if she commits to the game [of basketball] she’ll be great.”
As a dual-sport athlete, Carr plays basketball in the winter and soccer all year round. During the high school offseason, Carr plays for FSA, a premier soccer club in Farmington.
And when she’s not at school or at basketball practice, Carr is at the Farmington Sports Arena getting in her time on the field. Forgione even allows her to cut out of some practices a little early just so she can get to soccer on time.
As for basketball, Carr is pleased with how the season went, especially for her first on varsity and helped a team that started the season 1-3 finish 15-5.
“Our coach told us that other coaches thought less of us because we only had one senior and all underclassmen,” Carr said. “Everyone thought that it was going to be a not so great a season and we actually ended up doing pretty well. I think we even really shocked a bunch of people. I think that next year is going to be a challenge, but we’re ready. I’m ready”
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org