BRANFORD >> During every stoppage of play, Branford freshman point guard Adrienne DiGioia runs over to first-year coach Justin Henry.
“From the first day when we made the team and I told her she was going to be the point guard,” he said. “We talked about how important it is for the point guard and the coach to be on the same page.”
So far they have and DiGioia has emerged as one of the best freshman in the area averaging 10.8 points per game for the 10-6 Hornets.
DiGioia, who Henry said can be quiet by nature, has been working on being more vocal. She barks out directions on the court, talks on defense, encourages her teammates from the bench and never looks rattled. She said he’s just copying what she’s seen on television.
“Watching professionals and learning from other coaches,” she said. “I just picked up on it.”
What she picked up on is a strong basketball I.Q., according to her coach.
“She’s always thinking about, not just what happened, but where we’re headed,” he said.
The freshman, who will play for the Connecticut Basketball Club during the AAU season, has her team headed in the right direction. Branford has won two straight thanks to the point guard and fellow freshman Keira Integlia, junior Robin Norko and captains Jade Maddox and Hannah Zampano.
Now Branford, which is 4-1 in the Southern Connecticut Conference Oronoque Division, is in a fight for the division crown with 2013 SCC champ Career (5-0). Henry said even though DiGioia is only a freshman, her older teammates have had no issues with her running the show.
“All of them are buying into what we’re doing as a team and we haven’t had a problem with it,” he said.
Henry had a good feeling about DiGioia, too. Henry, who previously coached at Eli Whitney Tech before joining the Hornets, coached her old AAU team when she was in the eighth grade.
“We knew what kind of player we were getting,” Henry said.
He said DiGioia gives her all in practice everyday and even stays after to get up some extra shots.
“I’m always out there practicing hard because I want to be successful,” she said.
And she’s always looking to her coach for some guidance whenever the whistle is blown.