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After being named her team’s Defensive Player of the Year last season, senior captain Brianna Navarra is averaging six steals per game for the Morgan girls’ basketball team this winter. (Photo courtesy of Brianna Navarra )
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Brianna Navarra earned some notable accolades for her performance with the Morgan girls’ basketball team last winter. Instead of resting on her laurels, Brianna entered her senior season determined to play even better for the Huskies.
Brianna is currently a senior captain for Morgan girls’ hoops after holding that role with the girls’ soccer squad in the fall. Last season, Brianna, a shooting guard, won Morgan’s Defensive Player of the Year Award, in addition to earning All-Shoreline Conference Honorable Mention on the court.
Thus far this year, Brianna has picked up right where she left off, especially on the defensive end. She’s averaging six steals a game to go with eight points, six rebounds, and three assists for the Huskies, who are 6-5 and within striking distance of a postseason bid after recently rattling off four straight wins.
“It’s great to get that recognition, especially in the Shoreline Conference from the other coaches. It’s good to see they see how hard I’m playing. I’m hoping for Second Team or First Team this year. The awards motivate you to do better and get higher recognition,” says Brianna, who was an All-Shoreline Conference Honorable Mention in soccer last fall. “I think defense is the most important part of the game. We have a lot of energy on defense, and it gets you excited and keeps you on your toes.”
Brianna began her high-school basketball career under the tutelage of legendary former Head Coach Joe Grippo. Brianna’s work with Grippo, coupled with her heavy offseason regimen, formed a foundation that led to future success.
“My freshman and sophomore years, I had Grippo as my coach, which was a big transition from middle school. He was the biggest factor in how I play today, and he made me mentally stronger,” Brianna says. “Playing AAU in the offseason helps me by meeting new players and seeing different styles of play. I’ve been working out more in the offseason and playing summer ball with my teammates, as well.”
Brianna has improved when it comes to biding her time and deciding to either make a move to the hoop or pass the ball off. She’s also added another dimension to her game by grabbing more off the glass and then taking it back to the bucket.
“Shooting is my favorite thing, but it’s important to me to help create offense for my teammates. I’ve become more patient on offense and love getting assists to teammates,” says Brianna. “Boxing out has helped me, and I’ve been more aggressive with the ball and driving to the basket.”
The Huskies feature a pretty young team this season. As a second-year captain, Brianna uses her leadership experience to keep everyone in a positive state-of-mind at all times.
“Being captain has been really good. With only two seniors on the team, everyone is looking up to you,” Brianna says. “It’s a great feeling to help people out. To me, it’s important to keep a positive attitude all the time.”
Morgan’s Head Coach Caitlin Woods says that Brianna gives everything she has on the basketball court, and adds that she’s a humble athlete who always put her team first.
“Brianna is an exceptional captain who leads by example, and she has wholeheartedly dedicated herself to basketball. Brianna is a terrific athlete, and she has become an excellent basketball player who can do everything,” says Woods. “She is outstanding on defense, and she has become a critical component offensively...There is no question that it has been a pleasure to coach such a great kid and terrific student-athlete.”
Morgan endured a few road blocks early on this year. However, the Huskies cleared those bumps and now are looking to go on a second-half run that will carry them back to the postseason.
“We started at a rough point. We lost two of our starters to injuries, which was a big change,” says Brianna. “We’ve been on a streak of playing with energy and playing well together. We’re starting to come together and bond, and we just have to keep our energy up.”
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