Girls’ basketball: Gragnola puts up 42 points against Pioneer, shatters school scoring record

December 10, 2009 — by Apeksha Sharma

The Pioneer defense wasn’t the only thing that got shattered during Saratoga’s 59-54 win against the Mustangs on Dec. 8. In addition, senior forward Nicole Gragnola broke the school record for most points in a girls’ game putting up 42 points along with 15 rebounds, three steals and an assist.

“I just run the court,” said Gragnola. “We get a rebound and I try to just sprint down the court so that our wings can pass it up and beat the other teams defense. We focus a lot in practice on finishing layups and sometimes it’s a problem, but we’ve been focusing a lot on post moves, layups and getting points.”

Gragnola started playing basketball when she was in fifth grade and has continued ever since then.

“I started doing [National Junior Basketball] in fifth grade, but it wasn’t serious or anything, and then I played all three years at Redwood and since then I’ve been here,” said Gragnola.

In addition, Gragnola cites her father who helps her improve her game and gives her tips to use in games as the main reason behind her success.

“While we’re watching TV and a commercial comes up, my dad will usually say, ‘Stand up, I’ll show you a move that you should do,'” said Gragnola. “On weekends he makes me go outside with him to shoot around and shows me stuff he’s noticed in games I can work on.”

Despite her strong offensive performance, coach Mike Davey says Gragnola’s defense is her greatest strength.

“Last year she was our defensive stopper, we would find the best player on the other team and put [Gragnola] on her because she is such a tremendous defender but this year her offense has blossomed too,” said Davey.

Despite her stellar performance during the game against Pioneer, Gragnola believes that pulling off a repeat performance may be difficult.

“Since 42 points is a lot, I don’t think I can ever beat that again,” said Gragnola. “It’s not all about numbers, we just want to play the best so we can keep the team moving and be successful.”

Davey also believes that Gragnola has the qualities to lead the team.

“We have nine seniors so we have a lot of different people to look to for leadership,”said Davey. “She’s still our best defender and right now she’s our best offensive player so she’s certainly leading the pack right now so to speak.”

Gragnola’s leadership and strong offensive play have led to a strong start this season.

The team managed to bring home a second place trophy during the team’s first tournament at Fremont High School on Dec. 2, beating rivals Leland 52-38 and Leigh High School 55-42 but losing to Mercy High Schools 69-40 in the finals.

“It was a good way to start of the season [getting rid of] first game nerves and getting us more confidence going into our next games,” said Gragnola.

Gragnola anchored the offense with 22 points in the game against Leigh with senior Anna Schroeder adding eight assists. In the Leland game, Gragnola had 19 points and senior Baylee Yates added 12 points. However, Davey still believes there is room for improvement for the tougher opponents.

“We did not play our best against Mercy and they were an excellent team which resulted in our lopsided loss,” said Davey.

The Falcons’ next game will be on Dec.19 at Prospect High School.

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