Hebron travel team finishes a very strong season

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Hebron - posted Tue., Mar. 22, 2011
Hebron's Rachel Holley is fouled. Photos by Melanie Savage.
Hebron's Rachel Holley is fouled. Photos by Melanie Savage.

Maya Moore look out. There’s a group of young women on your tail, and they call themselves the Hebron Heat. The team, comprised of fifth and sixth grade girls, posted a 14-3 record during their regular season and made it to the semifinal round of their post-season tournament. They lost in the final round to Mansfield, “a very tough team,” according to head coach Mike Gonsor.

To wrap up their season, the Heat participated in the Marlborough March Madness Tournament. The tournament, hosted by the Marlborough Youth Athletic League, is a double-elimination, multi-day event involving area teams: Colchester, East Haddam, Portland, Colchester, Andover, Mansfield, Coventry, Marlborough and Hebron.  There are t-shirts, fancy lighting, concessions, and other special touches. “Just all kinds of stuff to make it fun,” said MYAL President Scott Billings.

By March 21, the Heat had made it to the semifinal round and a matchup against the Marlborough travel team. The winner of the game on the 21st would have to take on Mansfield.

Most of the Hebron players start in the town recreational program. “There are tryouts in early October,” said Gonsor. The regular season starts in December, and the girls play one or two games a weekend, with an average of two practices per week. Some of the Heat players will continue with basketball during the off-season, as part of an Amateur Athletic Union team. Katie Shea, one of only two fifth-graders on the team, will play for the second year on the AAU team. “I know some of the girls here from my AAU team,” she said.

Spotlight Players:

Sydney Masna is a returning sixth-grader who fills the small forward position for the Heat this year. She started playing basketball with the rec league as a first-grader. “My mom loves basketball,” she said. Masna plans to try out for the middle school team at RHAM.

Eryn Booth is also a returning sixth-grader. She is a power forward who started playing rec basketball in the first grade. “My whole family has played basketball,” said Booth. “I would practice with my sisters when I was little.” Booth plans to try out for the RHAM middle school team, and would also like to continue with the travel team.

Caleigh O’Connor is a returning sixth-grade point guard for the Heat. She started rec basketball in the first grade. “My mom played high school basketball, and practiced with me when I was small,” said O’Connor. O’Connor’s dad, Joe, is an assistant coach for the Heat this year. She would like to play for the middle school team next year.

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