Marlborough travel team girls are dedicated to their sport

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Marlborough - posted Tue., Mar. 22, 2011
Marlborough's Lia Baroncini sneaks past Hebron's Caleigh O'Connor. Photos by Melanie Savage.
Marlborough's Lia Baroncini sneaks past Hebron's Caleigh O'Connor. Photos by Melanie Savage.

Are these the state’s next Maya Moores? They just might be. The members of the Marlborough girls’ travel basketball team are a group of fifth- and sixth-graders who are dedicated to, and passionate about, basketball. Most of them have been involved in the sport since they were very young.

This year’s team is comprised of about half fifth-graders and half sixth-graders.  Many are involved in other sports. Some will go on to play basketball during the off-season, as part of the AAU Basketball Club team, also coached by travel team head coach Ed Baroncini.

After posting an 18-7 record, the team participated in the Marlborough March Madness Tournament to wrap up its season. The tournament, hosted by the Marlborough Youth Athletic League, is a double-elimination, multi-day event involving teams from Colchester, East Haddam, Portland, Colchester, Andover, Mansfield, Coventry, Marlborough and Hebron. There are t-shirts, fancy lighting, concessions, and other special touches to make it feel like a big tournament. “Just all kinds of stuff to make it fun,” said MYAL President Scott Billings.

By March 21, the Marlborough team had advanced to a semifinal round to take on the Hebron Heat. The winning team would take on Mansfield, “a very tough team,” according to Hebron head coach Mike Gonsor.



Spotlight Players:

Abby Georgiades, Paisley Kostick and Nicole Bellhorn are all returning for their second year playing for the Marlborough team. The sixth-graders have all been playing basketball for years, and would like to continue through the high school level at RHAM.


Georgiades started playing basketball in the fourth grade. “My neighbor is a high school coach and he helped me learn a lot,” she said. Georgiades would like to play at UConn, and eventually in the WNBA.


Paisley Kostick moved to town in the third grade, where she joined the recreational league. She, too, dreams of playing at UConn and eventually in the WNBA.


Nicole Bellhorn has been playing basketball since the age of 4, inheriting a love of the sport from her dad. She would like to continue playing through high school, but plans to attend either Duke or Syracuse after that. She’d like to become a doctor, like her dad.


Lia Baroncini is a fifth-grade point guard who is the high scorer for the team. She started playing basketball in kindergarten, and would like to one day play for UConn and the WNBA.

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