Eagles flying high behind Schatzlein's 1,000th point

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Tolland - posted Thu., Feb. 10, 2011
MacKenzie Dunham muscles her way into the paint at Tolland's game on Feb. 9. Photos by Steve Smith.
MacKenzie Dunham muscles her way into the paint at Tolland's game on Feb. 9. Photos by Steve Smith.

Tolland High School's girls' basketball team improved to 12-4 with a victory over the rebuilding Rockville Rams' squad on Feb. 9, but not before the Eagles presented their own junior guard/forward Kristin Schatzlein with a few presents, including a ball signed by the players and coaches, for scoring her 1,000th point in the previous game vs. RHAM on Feb. 5.

Coach Rocco Sansone said reaching 1,000 points as junior is an “elite accomplishment.”

“The thing that's great about that is she's such an unselfish basketball player,” Sansone said. “At the end of the day, she may have 20 or 22 points, but she only takes 10, 12, or 14 shots. She's not one of those kids who jacks the ball every time she touches it.”

Schatzlein's accomplishments are part of the team effort, Sansone said, especially since the four other starters have played with her since youth basketball.

“They all know how good she is, but they also know how to play together,” he said.

Sansone said his team is preparing for tournament play, and each of the remaining games may be necessary for his team to win, in order to make the conference tournament, and to get a good seeding in the state tournament.

“We're in playoff mode right now,” Sansone said. “We control our own destiny, and that's the way we want to play.”

Sansone said his team has been playing some of its best basketball, even in tough recent losses vs. E.O. Smith and Manchester, and he's been happy with the performance of his bench.

“It's been nice,” he said. “Sometimes they run our offense better than my starting five.”

On the court, there are still improvements to be made. Sansone said he's still not totally satisfied with the defense.

“I don't like the way we're setting up in a lot of our man-to-man stuff,” he said. “We've got to tweak that up a little. Offensively, we need to just be a little more patient, read the screens, and do things of that nature, and I think we'll get a few more open shots.”

The Eagles are scheduled to play their final regular-season game on Feb. 18 at home vs. Fermi.

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