Tolve Goes All-Conference for the Resurgent Rams
Aaron Tolve was a tri-captain for the Old Saybrook boys’ basketball team this season, and the junior made it a point for the Rams have a winning record on the campaign.
After Old Saybrook won two games two years ago and posted six victories last season, Aaron helped the Rams turn things around to the tune of an overall record of 15-7 in 2022. Aaron also led Old Saybrook to an appearance in the Division V State Tournament, where the Rams notched a first-round win before taking a loss in the second round.
“Overall, I am happy with this season,” says Aaron. “We have really made some huge jumps the past two years, going from 2-18 to 6-7 and now 15-7 this year. We are hoping to continue that trend going into next season, as well.”
Aaron started playing basketball when he joined a recreational league in Old Saybrook with his brother Owen in 2nd grade. From there, Aaron’s passion for the game took off, and he’s been a regular on the court ever since.
“I was being coached by my dad [Stephen] and playing alongside my brother and my friends. While playing, I think I realized that I had found something that I truly enjoyed doing,” Aaron says. “My favorite aspect of the sport is the competitiveness that goes with it. I love going out there every game and giving it my all in order to get a win.”
One of Aaron’s most memorable moments as a basketball player came when he was in 8th grade. Aaron and his travel team advanced to the championship game of their league tournament and came away victory despite being a massive underdog.
“That season, our travel basketball team won the championship as the underdogs against one of the best teams in the league,” says Aaron. “It was one of the most exciting things that ever happened to me and, ever since then, our whole team has had the hopes of replicating that same moment in high school.”
Aaron has also enjoyed playing high school basketball alongside his brother Owen, who graduated from Old Saybrook last year. Aaron says all of his best experiences have been shared with Owen, and that his older brother has always brought out the competitor in him.
“During my freshman and sophomore seasons at Old Saybrook, I played with my brother. Those two years were the first times I had been on the same team as him since 2nd grade,” Aaron says. “I had always had a competitive relationship with my brother on the basketball court. Both him and my dad really pushed me to be the best I could be, and I am really grateful for that.”
Head Coach Chris Perras says that Aaron is an extremely valuable player for the Rams for a variety of reasons. For starters, Perras considers Aaron a tremendous leader who always feels confident with the rock in his hands.
“This year, we saw him become a great on-court leader. As the season went on, Aaron became more comfortable with and grew into his role on the team that put us in a position to be successful,” says Perras. “Aaron also is our calm. When things get hectic, he will communicate with his teammates to adjust to a more comfortable pace that we can play in. Aaron always works to get better.”
Aaron led Old Saybrook in scoring by averaging 17.2 points to go with a team-best 6.2 rebounds per game this season. Coach Perras feels that Aaron’s chemistry with fellow junior captain Ryan Stratton has propelled him to the next level. Stratton, a point guard, was an All-Shoreline Conference First Team honoree, while Aaron, who plays small forward, earned a spot on the All-Shoreline Conference Second Team for his performance.
“Aaron always works to get better. In fact, the day after we lost to Achievement First [in states], he wanted to get in the gym to work on his shot and his footwork to improve things to get his offseason training to a good start,” Perras says. “The connection he has with Ryan is hard to replicate. They’ve been playing together since they were five years old and have a strong chemistry that we’re looking forward to seeing flourish when they’re seniors.”
Above all, Aaron loves everything about basketball and devotes a ton of time to the sport. Aaron’s goal is to play basketball at the next level, and he’s going to work rigorously to make that happen.
“I really care about this sport, so I put in a lot of work every offseason in order to try and get better,” says Aaron. “This past season, I did workouts with Connel Henderson, a former player at Old Saybrook, and I also put in a lot of work on my own. I played a lot of pickups with my friends at the local parks and recreation, and I also participated in summer and fall leagues for our team. I just want to be the best player I can.”