Cooke Making Key Contributions as a Freshman
Breleigh Cooke is making an immediate impact for the Old Saybrook girls’ basketball team as a freshman this winter. A point guard, Breleigh is averaging 15 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals per game through the first half of the Rams’ campaign.
Breleigh started playing basketball in kindergarten while living in Suffield as a youngster. Breleigh’s family has a rich history in hoops, and now she’s following in those footsteps on the court.
“I got into basketball because my dad had always played and actually played for the Old Saybrook High School team. My older sister Mackenna started playing when she was in kindergarten also and is a senior on our team now,” says Breleigh. “We’ve always had a basketball hoop at our house, and I’d play all the time.”
Prior to this year, Breleigh typically played small forward. Moving to the point guard position has been a big transition for Breleigh, but she feels that it will make her a better player in the long run.
Breleigh has always enjoyed the fast-paced and intense nature of basketball. She’s also formed several close friendships as a result of playing the sport.
“I love becoming close with new teammates and forming connections on and off the court,” Breleigh says. “My favorite aspect of the sport in the intensity involved. One example of that came when my AAU team was in a close game, and I scored the winning basket as time expired. There is no better feeling than that.”
Breleigh’s breakout performance at Old Saybrook came when the Rams earned a 44-11 victory against Norwich Tech on Dec. 27. Breleigh scored 31 points to lead Old Saybrook to the win.
“One of my favorite games of the season came against Norwich Tech during the Montville Holiday Tournament,” says Breleigh. “That was my highest-scoring game of the year, and I was really proud of the way we played that game.”
Head Coach Steve Woods commends Breleigh for how effective she’s been as a freshman. Coach Woods says Breleigh loves to compete and that her love for the game is constantly on display at Old Saybrook’s practices and games.
“Breleigh doesn’t back down from challenges and is embracing an opportunity that surfaced with the beginning of practice,” Woods says. “She will learn some lessons, and some will be tough because of the quality and talent of the really good opposing players she will compete against. I hope she will become a force, but it’s more important she helps the team meld into a solid unit.”
Breleigh has enjoyed working with Coach Woods since joining the Old Saybrook program. Breleigh is looking forward to growing alongside her Rams’ teammates as her basketball career unfolds.
“I’ve only been playing for Coach Woods for about a month now, but I’ve enjoyed every aspect of working and playing for him,” says Breleigh. “The assistant coaches are great and very helpful. I can’t wait to see the outcomes and play for Coach Woods for the rest of my high school career.”
Aside from basketball, Breleigh also competes for the Old Saybrook girls’ soccer squad in the fall. Breleigh used to play softball, but stopped in order to focus on AAU basketball during the offseason.
“In the past, I’ve played three seasons of AAU, while also attending any clinics or camps held. This summer, I played in a summer league to get used to the new pace of the high school game,” Breleigh says. “I also love to shoot around and practice any chance I get to. I’ve also been playing soccer my whole life, which I enjoy as well.”
Old Saybrook has taken a few defeats in recent action, but Breleigh still has high hopes about what the Rams can accomplish this winter. Breleigh’s main goal is to help Old Saybrook play its way into the states.
“I really enjoy playing with my teammates and hope to make the state tournament,” says Breleigh. “This is my only opportunity to play with my older sister, so it would be really great to share the experience with her.”