Basketball players

How Connecticut High School Basketball Players Are Spending Their Summers

It’s no secret that women’s basketball has continued to improve in Connecticut with more and more players from the state to play in college.

Part of the growth comes from AAU programs across the state that have players taking on the best competition in the entire country at tournaments coast to coast.

A few of the players who upped their game this summer could be linked to big things on the pitch in December.

ERIN LOVETT, ST. JOSEPH, BATTLECON BASKETBALL

In BattleCon Basketball’s first year, Lovett left her mark with a strong summer campaign playing for coach Jessica Neuweiler. The 5-foot-9 forward will enter her junior season for St. Joseph after a second season learning from a senior-dominated team that won the FCIAC title and lost a heartbreaker in the Class M championship game. of the CIAC.

“This summer was my best AAU experience to date. It was so much travel, but I got to go on road trips with my dad and then we flew out for a few tournaments. It was my first exposure to playing games where college coaches watch. For a player like me who is going to be a junior, it was great exposure,” Lovett said. “It was amazing to play with and against players who are all so good. We had a really strong team and we played so well together, that’s why we won so much.

“I really wanted to work on my ball handling and jump shot this summer. In the past, I was just comfortable painting, but I want to be more than a 4 or 5. I want to see how I can contribute in other ways. I worked on moving my feet more on defense and looking for ways to get to the basket more,” Lovett said. “AAU really allows you to explore a different side of your game. With each tournament, I was getting more and more confident thanks to my teammates. They were so supportive and I felt so comfortable with each of them. ‘them.

NATALIE LUCAS, HAND, CONNECTICUT STORM

Lucas, a 6-foot guard/forward combo, enters his senior year at Hand after earning second-team All-SCC honors as a junior. She played for coach Jen Labrie and the CT Storm for two summers and looks set for a huge senior year.

“I wanted to work on my inner game. I was more of a 3-point shooter my freshman year of high school and heading into the AAU season, my coach wanted me to develop my inside game so that I was more of a weapon,” Lucas said. “I feel like I’ve definitely improved in that area. I’ve added a lot of post moves to my game and I feel more comfortable having my back to the basket.

“The best thing about the summer basketball program was playing against better teams and certain players. Against good teams, my team should have little to no mistakes to win the game. I think playing against better teams has made me better because I can’t wait to play. From the jump, I have to be on my A-game no matter what,” Lucas said. “I’m going to bring all aspects of the game in the upcoming winter season. If I need to be a one-game post player, I can, and if my team needs a 3, I know I can hit it. Being a diverse player will help me this season. to come because I am comfortable in all positions on the pitch.

CLAUDIA SCHNEIDER, POMPERAUG, CONNECTICUT GIRLS BASKETBALL CLUB

Schneider was a third-team GameTimeCT All-State pick and an All-SWC pick. The 6-foot guard/forward combo spent his first summer playing for coach Scotty Nails and CBC New Haven and impressed in multiple tournaments.

“I had a great playing experience this summer. I wanted to learn to be more aggressive and create my own shots. Last year’s teams would take me out of games. Scotty made me shoot more outside and also go to the basket more. In Spooky Nook, I started to see a difference and score more,” Schneider said. “We play in a very competitive high school league in the SWC, and while I wouldn’t say the level of play is higher, it’s different in the AAU tournaments. It’s more physical and some teams are very fast. The best part is that you always play good teams.

“Playing with all the new teammates was fun. It was really cool to learn the playing styles of the other girls. Learn when they cut, when they pass, how they play defense. I learned a lot being with my teammates,” Schneider said. “Playing in Louisville was the highlight of the summer because it was so cool. They had around 90 courts and teams from all over the world. My partner and I were even interviewed by a local television station; It was cool.”

MADDIE TOPA, NORTHWEST, CONNECTICUT ENTRANCE

Topa was a GameTimeCT All-State honorable mention pick after a strong freshman season at Northwestern. The 5-6 guard may be ready to show the rest of the state what the Berkshire League learned last year: that they are a force on the field. She made great strides this summer playing her first season for coach Ryan Gomes at CT Starters.

“My main goal heading into the summer season was to beat my defender in the dribble and get down in attack. I think I definitely improved in that area and found myself more consistent doing it,” said Topa said. “Some of the things I will bring with me into the winter season will be intensity and working to create good shots for myself and my teammates.

“My fondest memory from this season is our team winning the USA National Junior Championships in the 16/17U division. I was also named to the pool all-star team,” Topa said. “The biggest benefit of the spring and summer basketball schedule for me and my development as a player has been the competition. Traveling to different states and some of the biggest showcases and tournaments have brought teams from all over the country. Everyone comes to play, and playing against the best of the best is what helped me improve my game.”

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