Girls basketball beat: Is anyone better than Capital Prep?

After running through some offensive plays with the starters during Wednesday’s practice, Capital Prep coach Tammy

Can the Trailblazers be beaten?

Can the Trailblazers be beaten?

Millsaps called out for the defense. She wasn’t calling for the bench players though — four male players and a recent Providence

College graduate, Symone Roberts, took to the floor to challenge the Trailblazers.
“That’s what we do,” the coach said.

Capital Prep also does a lot of winning. They have been the No. 1 team in the state since the final poll of last season, have a 56-6 record the last three seasons, won the Class S title last year and have won so much, so convincingly, that they even played a part in a major rule change.

After the Trailblazers ran roughshod through last season’s Class S tournament, winning games by an average of 54.4 points per game, including a 100-27 quarterfinal drubbing of Valley Regional, the CIAC ditched the enrollment system to decipher which non-public schools belonged in which class and went to a performance-based system.

The new system, which requires non-public schools that advance to the state quarterfinals in two out of the last three seasons to move up in class, pushed Capital Prep up from Class S to Class L.

“We anticipated that a move was going to be made,” Millsaps said. “We just want to play against good talent that’s going to challenge us.”

The Trailblazers backed up that statement with a tough non-conference schedule. Capital Prep plays six non-conference games against out-of-state teams. Millsaps did not schedule pushovers, instead playing teams like Capitol Christian Academy, the No. 23 team in Maryland which the Trailblazers topped 80-66, and an upcoming game against Archbishop Williams, the no. 15 team in Massachusetts.

“All it does is make us better,” Millsaps said. “It makes us playoff ready.”

It also gives her players a chance to get more exposure. Playing in Paterson, N.J., the Bronx and Nazareth, N.Y., doesn’t just benefit Division I prospects like junior Kiah Gillespie and sophomore Desiree Elmore. It also sheds light on the up and coming Capital Prep stars.

“It’s not like people don’t know who our top kids are,” Millsaps said. “But I want them to know the kids who may not be at a high level yet. They have the potential to go on and play at the Division II or Division III level.”

However for Millsaps, it all starts in practice, where her Trailblazers did something they don’t do too often: lose. Still, the chances that they’ll be matching up against four boys and a college grad in a game any time soon are pretty slim.

Capital gains

Capital Prep boasts one of the strongest core’s in the state with Fairfield University-bound Taylor Williams, Gillespie and Elmore. However, the Trailblazers have other talented players, too. Here’s a closer look at the talented Trailblazers’ roster.


Kiah Gillespie
Junior forward/center

Case and point: Gillespie averages 21.3 points per game and 9.4 rebounds. The post player can score in the paint, but is a point guard at heart.
“I can rebound and go to the basket,” she said. “I’m not afraid to do things like other players who limit themselves. I think I can do everything a point guard can do.”

Gillespie is garnering interest from schools all over the country. As for the attention her team is getting state-wide, it doesn’t phase her.

“It’s a good thing,” she said. “They can either talk good about you or bad about you, but either way we’re still on their minds.”

Taylor Williams
Senior point guard

Can’t take it from me: Williams has been all smiles lately. In the spring, she will sign to play at Fairfield University. However, the senior forward-turned-point guard isn’t done working on her game.

Capital Prep’s starting and back-up point guards from last year transferred to Weaver. Williams, who averages 15.3 points per game, 6.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists, is running the show and learning the ropes.

“It’s only going to benefit me,” she said. “I’ll know what’s coming (in college).”

Roberts took the ball from her a few times in practice, but Williams wasn’t ready to quit.

“As a captain and a leader, and a point guard is a leader, I know that I can’t hang my head,” Williams said. “I have to get my team back together.”

Angelique Rodriguez
Freshman guard

Rise and shine: The freshman is in the starting five and playing alongside three Division I players, a daunting task.
However, Rodriguez has been posting 8.1 points per game and is shooting 82 percent from the free throw line. She attributes her success to some extra work in the gym.

“Coach pushes me everyday in practice and in games,” she said. “She tells me what I need to work on. I try to work on that when I’m on the court practicing and getting up early and working out.”

Diamond Wallen
Junior forward/center

Sideline story: Wallen tore her ACL during lacrosse season and will miss the basketball season. However, she is still optimistic.
“I love our bond from freshman year,” she said. “I knew some of the girls, like Kiah, from fourth grade. So its having fun and being around them. They’re like my second family.”

Wallen excitedly joins in on team huddles, runs the scoreboard during scrimmages and said she can’t wait to get back on the court next season.
“You learn more when you’re on the bench,” Wallen said. “Now when I come back my senior year, I’ll have more skills.”

Desiree Elmore
Sophomore forward

You know what they say about pressure …: Elmore has been heavily recruited dating back to the 8th grade. However, the pressure to perform hasn’t gotten to her.

“It’s chaotic,” she said. “But, it just shows me that people appreciate my game.”

She’s averaging 17.6 points, 11 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game and is focused on keeping her grades up and winning games at Capital Prep.

Lizahya Morgan
Freshman point guard

Just like Fall League: Morgan turned heads in the fall league running point guard for the Trailblazers. This season Morgan is coming off the bench and confident after what she’s accomplished.

“I felt like I could play with this team,” she said. “Now I have to step my game up in order to get more playing time.”

Although she has only scored eight total points in seven games, Morgan is hopeful she can stand out this season, much like she did in the fall.

Dazhanae Ward
Junior guard

Cool, calm and collected: Ward is going through the recruiting process and said Providence College is looking at her. Every non-conference game is a chance for the guard to secure a scholarship somewhere.

Ward, who averages 6.8 points and 4.5 assists per game, said her teammates have been helping her keep it all in perspective in big games.

“If I make a bad pass or something they bring me back up,” she said. “They encourage me to do better.”

Marissa Cottrell
Freshman center

Always ready: Cottrell studies the playbook with her teammates and coaches. She comes off the bench but knows it’s important to know her stuff.

“It’s really important that you pay attention in practice and know all of the plays,” she said. “When you come in the game, we all have a very important role to play.”

If Cottrell continues to hit the playbooks, when she hits the court she may play an important role in the Trailblazers’ Class L title hopes.

Dominique Storey
Freshman guard

At first you don’t succeed: Storey didn’t think she’d get much playing time this season. However, the freshman got into a game and things didn’t go so well.

“I was nervous,” she said. “I thought I was going to mess up and I did.”

Storey turned the ball over, however, she rebounded on the other end.

“Back on defense I did what I had to do,” Storey said.

Comments

  1. Hs hoops fan says

    Question, if cp wins class l, will they move up to ll next year? That will create the possible cp/mercy matchup

  2. PK says

    Class L is very strong this year, especially at the top. With Wilton, RHAM, Weaver, Farmington, Ledyard..hopefully one of the “Real” CIAC teams can win the State title.

    It’s a joke that Capital Prep can compete for a state title when they don’t play a competitive CIAC team all season until March.

    Not saying it’s likely but anything can happen when the whole crowd at Mohegan will be cheering against them. That helped Thomaston be competitve in the 2nd half last year and a lot of these teams in Class L are much more talented than Thomaston was.

    • sportsfan says

      Does everyone dislike them so much that the entire crowd would go against them???And when you lose by thirty PK that’s not a comeback

  3. PK says

    The crowd will root for the underdog. Whoever plays them will be the biggest underdog of the day. It’s not like Prep has a huge fanbase that supports them since it’s such a small school.

    I said Thomaston was conpetitive 2nd half last year. It was a 2 point game in the 2nd half I believe, and Prep played most of their starters. Obviously they were coasting a bit while Thomaston was playing their hardest.

    • sportsfan says

      True indeed but we will see come tournament time. Hopefully they can move up to LL and make everyone happy next yr. Have you seen them play this yr? better team then last yr in my opinion

  4. XHS says

    Come on their claim to fame is a 3 loss St. Mary team by 6. Durham beat them in Class S 2 years ago! They are good but not deep. One player in foul trouble and they might not win class L this year.

    • bballfan says

      xhs you’re right they lost 2 years ago and won last year by a lot. Its weird how a team can win one year and cause a lot of rule changes.

    • sportsfan says

      Very true but the team was nothing but Freshmen and this is two yrs. later and lets be real who is really going to beat them in CT. MERCY yeah right. If they were worthy of the number 1 spot they would be. Pretty sure these sports writers got it covered

  5. bballfan says

    Any team can lose any given day..pk it seems you really have something personal against cprep..They’re talented, if they were not good no one would talk so much about them.

  6. XHS says

    I got something personal against the Weaver girls coach. Putting up 97 against weak teams and winning by 80. I will root for any team playing against them.

  7. Henry C says

    I’ve been saying this since I covered boys basketball waaaay back in the day (like 4 years ago lol), let the Class LL champ play the Class L champ and the Class M play the Class S and name a small school and large school champ. There is no reason the top 2 teams in the state will never play each other. If this was football, I bet something would be done. but, oh well.

  8. Henry C says

    Cont., especially in bball where class size doesn’t really determine your talent like in say baseball and football. Yes, most class S schools can’t compete with LLs and Ls, but its not as prevalent. I’d like to see it. They’ve got Mohegan for the weekend, why not?

    • Big Mike says

      For the people here who have a few negative comments about Cprep. Have you really been paying attention? Do you really know about the out of Conf schedule? Have you googled Jordan Augustus(St Mary’s) do you know about the Murry Bergtruam(NY) program Cprep will be playing Saturday in Ny in The Mecca Girls High School Basketball Challenge http://www.ladychoz.com/themecca.aspx . There’s a good chance teams in the top 10 would lose to Patterson(NJ), Capital Christian Academy(MD), St Marys(NY) & Murry Bergtruam(NY). Cprep goes out & looks to play these teams on the road…

      • sportsfan says

        For some reason Big Mike these CPREP haters truly believe they should play these CT teams which will give you zero exposure than to play a team that can potentially get these young ladies to a top tier D1 program. Nothing wrong with playing for a CCSU but why not RUTGERS or TENNESEE. We will see tournament time; but if they win convinsigly people will be crying to change the rules.

  9. High School Sports Fan says

    How many different Junior High School programs contributed to put this all-star team together? Good luck to all the individual town teams in Class-L without the ability to go outside their town limits as they play a fully recruited all-star team.

    • unbias says

      Give me a break they one a single title. Also its a lottery so how can they recruit. Most of the kids have been there since kindegarden

      • SPORTS ADVOCATE says

        THATS A LIE mOST HAVE NOT BEEN THER E SINCE kINDERGARDEN . k THEU 5 HAS JUST BEEN PUT IN THAT SCHOOL GOING ON TWO YEARS . sO DO NOT LIE. fURTHER MORE DO NOT TALK ABOUT IT BEING A LOTTERY SYSTEM iT IS PRETTY AMAZING SOME OF THESE ATHLETES ALL PLAYED ON THE SAME AAU TEAM BEFORE THEY CAME TO CAPITAL PREP. hOW AMZING THAT ITS A LOTTERY AND ALL THE BEST ATHLETES ARE THE ONES THAT WIN THE LOTTERY . iNTERESTING. yOU SHOULD ASK THE PRINCIPAL HOW HE MANAGES TO GET THESE KIDS INT THE SCHOOL BY GOING AROUND THE SYSTEM. juST SEE HOW MANY OF THE FORMER STUDENTS TRANSFERRED I MID SEASON FROM OTHER SCHOOLS . iF THERE IS A WORD FOR RECRUITING IT IS c-PREP

    • bballfan says

      If they were fully recruited why do they only have 7-8 girls wouldn’t they recruit 10-11 for v and 10-11 for jv.

    • a very proud parent says

      Capitol Prep and Mercy are probably the best two teams in the state, they have a few things in common, great coaching, they play well together, they are loaded with talent that plays for the top AAU programs in the state and beyond and they can draw from anywhere.
      The catholic schools can make it very easy for you to go there and the magnets well the lottery idea is just that and idea, just ask SMSA a few years back. It really is unfair to the public schools that draw from one town or a limited area, even a school like NFA draws from too large of a geographic area. There are acceptions to where a public school can compete with the above just look back to Newtown a few years back, they had talented seniors who played well togheter but it is rare. Lastly even if Prep were to be an independen tthere still would not be enough teams with available games to fill their schedule so to knock them for playing in thier conference which is probably the weakest or a soft connecticut schedule with is very weak is unfair.

  10. Henry C says

    And you can say the same thing for basically 90 percent of the Class LL-M finalists in the last 3 or maybe more years. The system is flawed. But, hey gotta respect the fact that they are very good and more than likely no one in the state can beat them

    • unbias says

      Now I could see if you said it would be a good game but your just talking nonsense and by your statement I know you havent seen them play. 15 plus really!!!!

  11. PK says

    The AD has a responsiblity to try and get them out of the CSC. It’s a waste of time for everyone. Be an independent and play 15 good CT teams and 5 good out of state teams. Or just play a national schedule like a lot of other powerhouses and don’t play for the State Tournament.

  12. PK says

    Last year class L championship was two public schools and just about every other contender in Class L this year is a public school that can’t really recruit (except Weaver, kind of…all the Hartford schools are basically quasi-public). That’s why I’d like to see a Wilton, RHAM or Ledyard win this year.

  13. PK says

    Haven’t seen them but I have seen the two Weaver kids and they are legit. Figured CPrep is a step behind because of that but with the Three D1 kids they have I wouldn’t be surprised if they were better.

    MAYBE I would have gone to see them play if all they’re home games weren’t Ellis Tech where they were playing keep away the whole game.

    • unbias says

      P K I agree the tech league is awful but what can they do they moved them up two classes but unfortunately its flawed. What people don’t realise is the coach is very good which is a main factor in their success. One class S championship and people are in an uproar for what??? Like I said they don’t recruit, most of the kids have been there since kindergarten; most not all. Mercy and Xavier have dominated in sports and no one complains; Why is that?

      • bballfan says

        I saw cprep play in fall league and Kiah and Dez are the truth.. the jr guard was lightning fast and strong. The two freshman can ball too. The little one was fast and the tall guard can shoot and very unselfish..Games I saw was against career and they beat them twice 20 plus with ease I was shocked.

        • Objective says

          I saw CPrep play the NJ team and came away impressed. I also saw CPrep play Career last year and felt the same way. I don’t know how someone can say this year’s team is better than last year’s minus two D1 guards. The level of play is not comparable.
          CPrep didn’t sub once against the NJ team. I can’t see how they would wear down Mercy. I’ve seen Mercy, Danbury, Wilton and Fairfield Warde play and feel CPrep would be tested the full 32 minutes.

  14. XHS says

    Cprep is nasty. But everyone keeps saying 3 d1 players. How many does mercy have? Last count is 3 in my book. Fitzpatrick and 6 2 Gallo are great. But what makes the team roll is having the best PG in the state in Landy! And sorry people if you know basketball that statement is not debatable!

    • Hs hoops fan says

      Landy is good,athletic, fast, but not the best pg., too many turnovers.having seen both teams play, Elmore for prep in my opinion is the best, Shyla for house is very good too, I would put those two ahead of her. Looking at mercy and prep, I think the edge has to go to prep, but it would be a hell of a game. Coaching edge I would give to mercy. Mercy would run and run, deep bench, and Kohs could play fitzpatrick anywhere, gallo would be good for 12-13 Rebs, there are a few kids off the bench that can knock down threes,it would be great to see them play each other

        • Henry C says

          she is, Taylor Williams is the point. I thought Snoop up at Weaver was second best to Alston formerly of Career last year. Since Alston is not in state, I gotta go with Snoop. I like Landy, but I think Snoop has the best court vision of any guard I’ve seen in the state.

    • bballfan says

      All this debate is pointless cprep and mercy are not going to play each other this year..only debates we can have is who is better between cprep weaver rham and wilton because big chance they will meet in states.

  15. BigBoy says

    Yup they beat the 55th ranked team in New York and the 1800 nationally per max prep by 1. Also a 3 loss team. Not too big a deal lets not get too excited.

    • ReppinCT says

      USA Today Top 25
      http://bit.ly/M2jl0w
      Murry Bergtraum(NY) #15…
      They’ve won 15 consecutive City Championships….

      I realize some people on here have a fav team or just don’t like certain programs for whatever reasons but it’s good a CT team is playing teams with top players on them with college coaches in the building & lettin em know come checkout CT…there’s players out here too..Say what u want….Cprep is doin that..on the road…Reppin CT!!!

    • ReppinCT says

      I see some know more than others on here….Regardless who you route for or your opinion it’s good to see CT goin other places & showin people we have players out here too..Cprep hits the road, plays in ofher people’s gym/tournaments & gets the job done..Reppin CT!!!
      Murry Bergtraum(NY) #15 USA Today Top 25
      http://bit.ly/M2jl0w

  16. ciacfan says

    This isn’t really true.

    Last year 3 of 6 M-LL finalists were 100% public and couldn’t recruit (including L and M champs)

    2012 4-out-of-6 were purely public (unless Smith has a voc-ag program which I think they may)…Weaver is quasi-public (can recruit a little within city limits), and just Mercy is private.

    So that’s 7.5 out of 12 the last 2 years that were public schools.

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