SOUTHBURY—The accolades just keep rolling in for one of the best players in school history.
Pomperaug senior Karli Opalka was one of three Connecticut girls basketball players to be nominated for the prestigious McDonald’s High School All-American game, a list that was released this week.
Opalka was stretching with teammates before a practice when head coach Joe Fortier told her she was selected. A quick search when she got home confirmed.
“It was really cool knowing I was one of only three girls from the state,” Opalka said. “It’s cool to be noticed and that I have that many people watching recognize me. Not a lot of people know about our small school; it got our name out there.”
Opalka — who eclipsed the 1,000-point barrier earlier this season — has helped lead the Panthers to a 7-1 start entering action Friday night against Immaculate. The 5-foot-10 forward averaged almost 18 points per game last season and was named first team All-SWC and All-State.
“We have high hopes this year bringing back the same team,” Opalka said. “We only have one loss, but we’re still working and we’re excited.”
Attention on the standout has opened space for several talented teammates.
“What you see out of her is the selflessness,” Fortier said. “She’s willing to let someone else score the points; she just wants to win. She will come up with some big rebounds; it’s a lot of things that college coaches will look at what she can do athletically.”
Opalka is being recruited by several Division III schools, she said Friday.
Stamford’s Alexa Kellner and Bailey Hyland of Suffield Academy were the other two girls nominated from Connecticut. Both the boys and girls All-American games take place March 28 at the Phillips Arena in Atlanta.
“Having all the support from my team, and people within the school,” Opalka said. “The coaches, athletic director, everybody in the school has always been supportive of me.”