By blending athleticism, shooting ability, and an iron will to win, this junior guard carried her school to its first-ever title game appearance.
Brittney Rothweiler is a fast learner. Just four years after she started playing basketball, the junior guard from Longmeadow (Mass.) High School was named the top player in her region.
That came as a surprise to Longmeadow Head Coach Wayne Patterson -- but only somewhat. "I always knew she had the ability, but I was very surprised as to how quickly she was able to rise to the top," he says.
The 5-8 guard averaged 19.7 points, 6 rebounds, four steals, and three assists as she led Longmeadow to its first appearance in the Western Massachusetts Division I title game. The Lancers came up short in the championship game, losing 55-40 to Pittsfield, but still ended the season with an 18-5 record.
Rothweiler scored in double figures in 22 of 23 games. Her strong points were "her athleticism, shooting ability, and will to win," according to Patterson. "It was a breakout year for her and the one thing that stood out amongst many was her athletic ability," he says.
Rothweiler's talents extended to getting along with her teammates. "Brittney was a true team player," Patterson says. "Even though she was the best player on the team, she was respectful of the senior leadership and just did what it took for the team to win.
"Brittney leads by example," he continues. "I cannot count the number of times she was the first player to congratulate someone else on a good play or pick somebody up after a bad play. She is all about the team and will do whatever it takes for the team to win."
Rothweiler is looking forward to her senior season, where she'll team with her younger sister Mia, who started as a freshman last year. But it will be hard to top her junior season, which ended with her being named the 2001 winner of the Vi Goodnow Award, which honors the top high school girls' basketball player in the region. Previous Goodnow winners include Rebecca Lobo and Jamila Wideman.
Patterson predicts the best is yet to come for Rothweiler. "She needs to keep playing and getting stronger," he says. "It is amazing what she has accomplished in just four years of organized basketball, but she has a ton of room to improve and she needs to keep working hard on the little things."
As for last season's highlight, Patterson points to a game where Longmeadow beat the top-ranked team 41-40 on a free throw with no time left on the clock. "Brittney had her worst game shooting wise with only six points, but played one of her best all-around games," he says. "In fact, in the last three minutes of the game she had two clutch steals and three assists as she was doubled and tripled teamed. This was a great character builder for our team and for Brittney. It proved that we could win without her having to score 20 points and it helped Brittney because she proved to herself how valuable she is to us on the floor, even though the points were not there on this particular night."
In the offseason, Rothweiler plays AAU ball with the Connecticut Starters, and she also runs track for Longmeadow, where she excels in the 100-meter dash and the long jump.
Article written by Gball Associate Editor Jim Catalano.
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