The Syosset High School girls varsity basketball team had a memorable season that saw them go undefeated in the regular season, but they never would have done so without shooting guard Caroline Ruggiero.
In Ruggiero’s senior year, she averaged 15.6 points per game, which was the highest on the Braves.
The shooting guard entered the season determined to help the team dominate, having lost the Nassau County Class AA finals to the Baldwin Bruins in the season prior.
Unfortunately, the Braves would suffer the same fate this season as they lost, 60-52, to the Bruins again.
However, Ruggiero did her part as she scored 19 points that night as she turned her “defense into offense,” something that head coach Michael Ferreira preached throughout the season.
Ruggiero was one of five seniors who played a pivotal role in leading the team this season.
“Our seniors have been here with us for awhile now,” Ferreira said. “I think that they understand that this season is going to be their last and they really take it upon themselves to make sure that they take care of business.”
Ruggiero spoke with the Levittown Tribune about how her journey in basketball started, what was special about this year’s girls varsity team and things she has personally learned through her years of playing basketball at Syosset High School.
Q: When did you start playing basketball?
A: I started playing it around 11 years old and I was on varsity in ninth grade.
Q: How do you prepare on the day of a game?
A: During warmups, I just try to stay focused and make sure I’m ready for the game.
Q: What’s something you want to improve on as a player?
A: I think being unselfish and trying to look for that extra pass. My coach always tells me to be disciplined and even though I should shoot my shot, always look for that extra pass because it creates higher percentage shots that we try to get.
Q: Through your four years of high school, what do you think you’ve successfully improved on in terms of your game?
A: I think I’ve definitely become better at finishing at the rim. Again with that unselfishness, a lot of my teammates have been looking for me down low and I’ve been able to finish at the rim because of that.
Q: Are you planning on playing basketball in the future?
A: I think I’ll play on an intramural or club team at college, but I’m not committed anywhere yet.
Q: What’s something you’ve learned about yourself as a player throughout your time there?
A: I think it all comes back to that unselfish aspect that we really try to focus on and embrace. Now, I try to look for who’s open rather than just for my shot as I might have in the past.
Q: What do you think makes this team different from the previous three years that you’ve been on the Braves?
A: I think we definitely pass the ball really well and we try to transition a lot. I think we’re athletic and fast enough. This team is faster and more athletic than the past three year’s teams.