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Senior captain Catie Donadio was presented with the game ball after scoring her 1,000th career point during Morgan’s 47-32 home victory against North Branford on Feb. 16. Donadio had 16 points with 10 steals, five assists, and two blocks in the contest. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News)
Catie Donadio’s teammates were excited to see her reach the 1,000-point mark last week. Celebrating this accomplishment with some commemorative signs are sophomores Eva O’Sullivan, Alyssa Maikowski (back), Bailey Brown, and Maddie O’Sullivan. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News)
Sophomore Caeley Ayer and the Morgan girls’ basketball team improved to 3-1 by earning wins versus North Branford and Valley Regional in recent action. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News)
The Morgan girls’ basketball team had a big week in more ways than one last week. In addition to winning both of their games, the Huskies also saw senior captain Catie Donadio score the 1,000th point of her high school career when they defeated North Branford.
Morgan started off the week by earning a 47-32 home win over North Branford on Feb. 16. Four days later, the Huskies played a road game at Valley Regional and prevailed by a 56-40 score to improve to 3-1 on the season.
Donadio made history by scoring career point No. 1,000 when Morgan defeated North Branford. The senior captain point guard had 16 points to go with 10 steals, five assists, and two blocks to help the Huskies rally for the victory. North Branford was down 17-14 after the first quarter and trailed 22-21 at halftime, but then outscored the Thunderbirds 4-0 in the third quarter and 22-10 in the fourth to come way with the 15-point win.
Donadio scored her 1,000th career point by hitting a free throw with 3:30 remaining in the second quarter. Donadio said that she felt relieved to reach the 1,000-point plateau, especially since there was no guarantee that she would even have that opportunity this winter.
“Truth be told, I wasn’t positive if we were even going to have a season, so I didn’t know if I would be able to get it in. When I knew we were having a season, I really wanted to score my 1,000th point,” said Donadio, who will continue her basketball career at Connecticut College. “I felt as if I put a little pressure on myself, so when I scored it, I was happy that I did it. It also felt bittersweet, because I was happy to score the point and be able to play with my teammates, but I was also a little sad, because 1,000 points is something seniors usually get toward the end of their season. It was a reality shock that now I’m in the last season of my high school career.”
Sophomore guard Caeley Ayer, who is Donadio’s cousin, scored 16 points for Morgan in the victory. Sophomore Katie Martin had six points, and fellow sophomore Sofie Passante scored five points for the Huskies.
After defeating North Branford, Morgan went on to claim a 56-40 road win versus Valley Regional on Feb. 20. Donadio had another big game for the Huskies by scoring 28 points to go with six rebounds, four assists, and four steals. Ayer scored 12 points, and Martin had 10 points.
Head Coach Caitlin Woods has been impressed with the play of her team through the early goings of the campaign. Morgan has a young roster, but is being led well by Donadio and fellow senior Alex Kelly, a center.
“I am happy with my team so far this year. Besides the two seniors, we are very young. The young kids that have played at the varsity level have really stepped up and demonstrated that they can handle the challenge,” Coach Woods said. “Alex Kelly had an impressive first two games with her scoring and shot blocking. We are working every day to improve our execution on offense and hard work on defense, but I think we should be a tough team to compete against in the Shoreline Conference as we continue the season.”
Coach Woods was proud of Donadio for netting her 1,000th point in the North Branford victory. Woods felt confident that Donadio would achieve the feat in that game, and she felt ecstatic for her senior captain when it happened.
“I was thrilled to see Catie reach such a monumental milestone. I couldn’t be more proud of her and the work that she has put into becoming an exceptional player,” said Woods. “With the uncertainty of the season even happening, it was tough to imagine Catie not getting to play her senior year and not given the opportunity to score her 1,000th point. She handled it just like all of her other many accomplishments—humble and modest. She’s the consummate team player and a kid every coach wants in the gym.”
Coach Woods was also pleased with how Morgan’s defense played against North Branford. Woods implored her athletes to play press defense throughout the game, and that strategy wound up working to the Huskies’ advantage.
“The ultimate goal is the success of the team, and that’s always the first priority,” Woods said. “When we looked to press North Branford, it boosted our momentum, and we were able to translate that on offense. Caeley Ayer is really tough defensively with her ability to force turnovers and grab steals, and she plays the top of our press really well.”
Coach Woods credited her players for maintaining a consistent approach during the COVID-19 pandemic. Woods thought that the Huskies might feel uncomfortable playing through the pandemic, especially with no fans in the stands, but she feels that everyone is handling the stress they best they can.
“I know it’s especially tough for the athletes to not have their families and friends in the gym on game nights. However, I think that the mentality of the kids is that if we have to make all of these difficult changes, that is fine with them, as long as they get to play,” said Woods. “It definitely demonstrates how much these kids need this back in their lives, as well as their love for the sport. They have taken on everything with stride, and I am so proud of them.”