Each season the Register releases a preseason list of the Top 25 players in the CIAC.
However, what about the players who fall just outside of the Top 25?
This week we offer up the All-Under The Radar team for New Haven County.
These are the players good enough to be in the Top 25 that either don’t get the recognition or will be good enough very soon.
These players can by put in five different categories
- Coming of Age (becoming a star)
- Overshadowed (teammates get more attention)
- There’s No I in Team (team-play overrides individual outbursts)
- Where did You Go? (missed time or does not play AAU basketball)
- You Play Here? (does not at a school known for basketball)
Guilford senior guard
There’s No I in Team: The senior guard shows flashes of her athleticism and scoring ability. However, she’s doesn’t shoot enough, according to coach Bob Welsh. Altieri averages 9.6 points per game.
Hyde senior forward
Overshadowed: Hyde coach Tracy Claxton calls Beard “Coach A.B.,” due to her basketball IQ.
“Her game has improved over the years,” Claxton said. “Moreso her junior year she has matured and become a leader on the floor.”
However Beard, who averages 16.4 points per game and nailed 21 3-pointers, plays alongside the school’s only female 1,000 point career scorer: Trayneice Mims.
O’Brien Tech sophomore guard
Coming of age: Belade has exhibited strength and maturity far beyond her years as she battles Ulcerative Colitis. The sharp shooting guard has dealt with the weight gain caused by her medication well and is still averaging 18 points per game and has 631 career points, in less than two full seasons.
Amity senior guard
There’s No I in Team: Brinton averages 14.8 points per game and has improved her shooting according to coach Michelle Martinik.
“I said, ‘work on your step back,’” the coach said. “And she was in the gym hours every day just working on it.”
Martinik said her team’s style of play could make it difficult for people to notice just how good Brinton is individually.
“The kind of game we play, we really play a team basketball game,” she said.
Sheehan senior guard
Overshadowed: Collette averages 9.6 points, 2.2 steals and has nailed 36 3-pointers this season. Every coach has to watch for her on the perimeter, but she the big shot taker and maker does take a backseat to Joelle MarkAnthony.
“Whether it was her sister, Rachel, or Sam Smith in previous years, or the past two seasons playing with Joelle MarkAnthony, Livi has been our second or third option on the offensive end.,” said Sheehan Mike Busillo. “She has the perfect mentality for a shooter. Livi never lets a missed shot affect the next shot and she’s hit a ton of big shots in her career.”
Cheshire junior forward
Overshadowed: laying alongside top 25, Franklin Pierce University-bound Missy Bailey has its advantages and disadvantages. The good is you’re playing with a great team player, who makes everyone around them better. The bad, people may not notice how good you are. Como averages 12 points per game, eight boards and has sunk 20 triples this season. Her coach, Sarah Mik, has always appreciated what the versatile forward brings to the table.
“Sara is that well-rounded player that is tough to guard,” the coach said. “She can shoot the three, drive or post you up.”
Career junior guard
Where did you go?: Davis missed most of last season with an injury and missed the first 10 games this season due to CIAC transfer rules after going from North Haven to Career.
However, according to Panthers’ coach Steve Bethke, Davis is going to turn heads when she returns.
“She’s an excellent athlete,” he said. “She’s got size, she can handle the ball, she can play down low. She’s really versatile.”
He said the University of Rhode Island is interested in her.
Sacred Heart Academy junior guard
Coming of age/You play here?: The guard is posting 9.7 points per game and is helping to get the Pacers into the state playoffs at 7-8. Sacred Heart Academy lost their coach from last year and starting point guard, but Davis is making sure the Pacers don’t lose out on a chance to play in the postseason.
Overshadowed: Rachel Plotke is arguably one of the best shooters in the area. Right next to her has to be her teammate Devin. The Guilfordd High transfer has drained 21 triples on the season. Plotke and Devin: the Splash Sisters. Has a nice ring to it, no?.
Coming of age: If the SCC gave out Rookie of the Year awards, DiGioia would be the front-runner. The freshman is posting a team-high 10.3 points per game thus far.
Law sophomore guard
Coming of Age: Following sister Casey, who went onto play at Marist, is no simple task, so Laura isn’t trying to.
“There’s a lot of pressure on her because she does come from a basketball family,” Eagles’ coach Dan Young said. “But for us, Laura’s not trying to be anything other than herself.”
Laura is averaging 16.6 points per game, and Young said she’s one of the hardest workers on the team.
“Laura has her own skill set,” he said. “Laura has her own life and basketball career that she’s establishing more for her career than her name.”
Amity senior guard
There’s No I in Team/Overshadowed: Graham is one of the better point guards in the SCC.
Martinik said Graham doesn’t need to rely on the office to make plays.
“She’s really learned all those things nicely, and she’s making her own decisions now that are correct,” Martinik said.
Graham did not play varsity until last season but has been the team’s main option at point guard ever since.
With Brinton leading the team in scoring, Graham handles the passing, which could contribute to why she’s under the radar.
Amity sophomore guard
There’s No I in Team/Coming of Age: The sophomore is an athletic shoot-first player who is still finding her game.
Martinik said Graham, who averages 10.6 points per game, has the potential to shoulder the scoring load Brinton carries now in the near future.
“When she’s on a streak she can really do damage to a team,” the coach said.
“She works hard and gets to the hoop quick.”
Hand senior guard
Where Did You Go?: Joel marches to the beat of her own drum according to coach Tim Tredwell.
“We’ll watch tape and she’ll break down the defense, and I’ll tell the kids, ‘Here’s Sophie doing Sophie things’” he said.
Despite her unorthodox style, Joel is averaging 11.7 points per game .
“You don’t want to disrupt that creativity,” Tredwell said. “When she’s on her game, she makes us really good.”
But Joel, who does not play AAU basketball, doesn’t seemed too interested in playing in college.
“I’ve talked to her about playing in college and she said, ‘I’m probably not good enough, I really just do it for fun.’” He said.
North Haven junior guard
Coming of Age: Johnson is quickly emerging as one of the area’s top scorers. A well-documented school record 40-point outburst and 21.7 points per game scoring average to go along with three rebounds and four steals a game are proof that Johnson’s stock is rapidly rising.
“She’s really improved everywhere, passing, dribbling, shooting. There’s not really one spot where I can say she improved just there,” North Haven coach Chris Barry said earlier this season.
Mercy junior guard
Overshadowed: The guard runs arguably the best offensive system in the area playing for coach Tim Kohs.
He said Landy can get past most players and is always in great shape due to also playing soccer. However, playing with five girls last season who are playing college basketball now, and this season alongside leading scorer Maura Fitzpatrick, Landy’s stellar ball-handling and passing falls by the wayside.
“If you’re not scoring a lot, you don’t get noticed,” Kohs said.
Joelle Mark Anthony
Sheehan junior forward
Coming of Age: Mark Anthony is currently fielding interest from Division II schools. According to Titans’ coach Mike Busillo, Mark Anthony has worked hard to get better.
“Seventh grade she barely made her middle school team,” he said.
Mark Anthony went from scoring 100 total points her freshman year to 250 her sophomore year. This season, she is averaging 17.7 points per game and leading Sheehan in scoring.
“She didn’t have a big freshman season. I think that maybe a lot of people (on the Top 25 list) probably started off their careers in spectacular fashion,” Busillo said.
Lauralton Hall senior center
Overshadowed: McCarthy is Division I good, but she plays with another Division I player in Quinnipiac-bound Carly Fabbri.
McCarthy also shared the front court last season with Olivia Levey, who is playing at Division I St. Francis in New York.
It also doesn’t help that McCarthy plays what could be considered a bring-your-hard-hat-to-work style of basketball averaging 14.7 points and eight rebounds per game.
Despite all that, Fairfield University is recruiting her, so she could be playing against former teammate Fabbri in the MAAC next season.
Old Saybrook senior guard
You play here?: Old Saybrook doesn’t get a ton of attention around these parts, so people may not know that the area’s scoring leader plays there. Neas is averaging an area-best 23.1 points per game and also adding 6.8 rebounds, 6.7 steals and 2.8 assists. As good as she is, she really made a name for herself for doing other things.
“Mia is very well known around the state as a two-time All State soccer star and has played baseball(with the boys team as a freshman- pretty good pitcher and shortstop),” said Old Saybrook coach Steve Woods. “And last year picked up a tennis racket and earned All Shoreline honors in doubles with Mary Kate Morrison.”
However, his 5-foot-6 guard can play some basketball, too.
“She is very strong and has excellent timing and anticipation for steals and rebounds,” he said. “Mia was all Shoreline First team last year but other players from the top few teams got more notice however no player is having a better hoop season in the SLC this year than Mia.”
Lyman Hall senior center
You Play Here?: Mierzejewski is arguably the area’s best stretch-five, a center who can stretch the defense with a silky smooth mid-range jumper.
“Because she can step out, (the defense has) to figure, do they step out on her?” said Trojans’ coach Tom Lipka.
Mierzejewski is averaging 13 points per game. According to Lipka, Western New England is interested in her.
However, he said Lyman Hall’s 0-20 season three years ago may have made Mierzejewski hard to find.
“Three years ago we didn’t win a game, even though last year we won 12,” he said.
Lyman Hall senior guard
You Play Here?: The guard is averaging 11.8 points per game and has nailed 19 3-pointers this season. As one of the best shooters in the area, Lipka said Taylor gives the Trojans range.
“She’s a very good outside shooter and she gets her shot off quick.”
Western New England is also recruiting her, according to the coach.
Lyman Hall senior forward
You Play Here?/Overshadowed: She went from five points per game sophomore year, to eight in her junior season and now averages 10.1. Peterson complements the Mierzejewski twins’ shooting with dribble penetration.
“I think she’s one of the best kids in the SCC (at getting to the basket),” Lipka said.
However with the twins, Peterson can get lost in the shuffle.
“When people think of our lineup for girls basketball the first thing that comes to mind is the twins,” Lipka said.
Amity senior center
Overshadowed: Ronan does the dirty work for the Spartans and does a fine job of it. Ronan is posting 8.4 points per game and is tough to keep off the glass.
Amity senior guard/forward
Overshadowed: One of the most versatile players in the SCC plays for the Spartans. Schmitt is posting 8.5 points a game and is a threat inside and out, in addition to what she adds on the glass and defensively.
Overshadowed: Tomassini has been lighting up scoreboards, posting 11.5 points per game for the Hornets.