“He was just starting to play organized basketball then,” Pagliuca said. “He’s become so good in just a few years, it’s amazing. He’s a hard worker. He goes hard in practice, and we’ve worked out together over the summer in the past, and I know he works out hard then, too.”
Brennan’s work has paid off during the record-setting season at Milton Academy, and in the form of national recognition among some of the country’s best college programs.
And with another season’s worth of games left at Milton, it just might result in a few more packed gyms, too.
Newton South girls shock North rivals
Kayla Burton is one of the most talented senior guards in the state, but even she couldn’t keep Newton South from a roller coaster season. Over the course of the winter, the Lions (12-10) might win two, then lose two more. Then they’d hit a short winning streak, and the defeats would follow.
“I know it’s been difficult for Kayla,” said coach Sam Doner. ”Before every game, the speeches she gives to the team and the speeches we give are really similar. She’s almost talking to the kids from our point of view. . . There were just some things I think players didn’t see because of their experience.”
Wednesday night, the 17th-seeded Lions used a total team effort — led by 22 points from Burton — to upset top-seeded Newton North (19-2) in the Division 1 South tournament, 49-45, in overtime.
Both Burton and freshman Emily Chang helped to slow North star Infiniti Thomas-Waheed, while juniors Lauren Levy and Shaylah Kelly were solid in the paint. Junior Jessa Rubera also stepped up while coming off of an ankle injury.
But it was Burton, a 1,000-point scorer headed to Lehigh University in the fall, who came up biggest in her team’s biggest game of the season.
“We always expect Kayla to come up big because we believe in her, and in her skill, and in her passion for the game,” Doner said. “It was a long season for her when she maybe only had three or four really big games, but none was bigger’’ than beating North.
Phil Perry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.