Ask Groton students what they are up to at 3:15 PM on any given weekday afternoon, and their answers will most likely vary widely. Some might be just settling in with a bag of popcorn and Netflix up on their computer screens, others typing furiously at their laptops in the science lounge, and still others unwinding in their common room with dormmates. Breezy Thomas’14, however, will most likely be at the athletic center. Breezy, a third year member of the girls’ varsity basketball team and one of this year’s co-captains, can be found lacing up her sneakers as she prepares for her team’s daily ninety minute practice.
Although Breezy did not begin playing basketball until middle school, her natural athleticism and unparalleled work ethic have contributed to the success she has enjoyed in the sport. After playing on the JV team during her third form year, Breezy made Varsity as a Fourth Former and has since been one of the team’s starting guards. Breezy’s perpetual resolve to be the best she can be makes her a player that teammates respect and admire. Caitlyn DiSarcina ’17, who has played with Breezy for the past two seasons, says that she is motivated by the fact that “whether it be during practice or a game, Breezy gives one hundred and ten percent of her effort each and every day”.
Breezy’s hard work does not go unnoticed by her coaches either. Mr. McDougal, who has coached Breezy for two years, considers this to be her greatest contribution to the team, saying that she “sets a high standard for her teammates” through her focused and relentless work. Mr. McDougal commented on Breezy’s athleticism, saying that it “has been a huge asset to [the team] this year”. Due to her innate athletic prowess, her coaches, “give her the toughest defensive assignment every game and she has been amazing at shutting down [their] opponents’ best players.” Mr. McDougal also mentioned that Breezy “has made strides this year offensively by looking for more opportunities to drive to the hoop.”
Breezy believes that being elected co-captain along with Rachel Reed ’14 has made this season completely unique from the previous two. Given her born ability as a leader, Breezy was an obvious choice to guide the team during her final season. Breezy’s strength as a captain is apparent to her coaches and teammates alike; Lillian Harris ’15 believes that Breezy’s “positive attitude and encouragement towards others” are what set her apart as a successful leader. Being captain has added a new level of responsibility as well as allowing her to look at the sport of basketball with renewed perspective. “This season,” Breezy explains, “I have developed a new appreciation for the fact that basketball is a team sport. I no longer focus on pushing myself to be the best I can be, but rather motivating the team to be the best we can be”.
Breezy’s work as a captain and player has become evident through the five wins the team has recorded leading up to St. Mark’s day—already surpassing the three from last season—as well as the rediscovered sense of togetherness that seemed to have been lost throughout the past few seasons. The team has been especially strong defensively as they have capitalized on their height and out-rebounded their opponents in nearly every game.
Though it is difficult to tell from watching her play, basketball is not even what Breezy considers to be her main sport. Breezy has been a member of the girls’ varsity soccer team since her third form year. Despite being injured for a portion of this past season, Breezy still embraced her role as a co-captain as she led the team through a successful season and two rounds of the playoffs. Breezy began playing soccer at age six and has played on her respective school teams ever since.
This spring Breezy will play on the girls’ varsity lacrosse team for her third season as well. Though she did not begin playing lacrosse until she attended a NESLL camp at Groton the summer leading up to her third form year, Breezy was quick to discover her passion and talent for the sport. Breezy is an extremely gifted defensive player, and after her time at Groton she will play as a member of the Duke University women’s lacrosse team.
Being a tri-varsity athlete distinguishes Breezy from her competitors, regardless of sport. Mr. McDougal believes that “the fact that Breezy is such a good lacrosse and soccer player helps her basketball game, as there is overlap among and between the three sports; it also means that she is very competitive. Her speed getting up and down the floor, her court vision, and her competitiveness are all excellent.”
Breezy’s contribution to the Groton athletic program during her time as a student has been tremendous. She has been a member of ten varsity teams, as well as a two season captain. The caliber of Breezy’s talent and work ethic far surpasses that which is typical of athletes her age. Breezy’s contribution to Groton athletics will certainly be missed in the years to come, and the entire community looks forward to supporting her and the entire girl’s lacrosse team this spring during Breezy’s last season as a Zebra.