In a week that featured some outstanding athletic performances, it was a free throw that garnered much of our attention – and rightly so.
With her free-throw basket versus Middlesex School on Friday, February 6, varsity girls’ basketball captain Nikki Arnold ’19 (Derry, NH) joined illustrious company.
Arnold, set to join the varsity at Sacred Heart University next fall, inked her name next to LA Athletic Hall of Famer Kristi Laggis ’95, Emily Pratt ’16, Gabrielle Reuter ’16, and Erin Antosh ’17 in LA’s girls’ basketball 1000-point pantheon.
“It feels really good,” said a relieved Arnold, postgame.
“Personally, didn’t think I was going to make it,” added Nikki, sidelined by injury during parts of her senior season. “Getting it is like an accomplishment I thought I was never going to achieve.
“It feels really, really good to actually get to do it and be a part of the five people to actually do it here at LA.”
The highlight of the Spartans third-straight win helped raise the squad’s record to an impressive 12-3 overall. However, even in the aftermath of an important victory, Head Coach Donna Mastrangelo mused about Arnold’s technique, and didn’t sound very surprised her senior made the exclusive club.
“It’s a thrill for me to be honest,” said Mastrangelo, who generally wears a serious gaze. “It’s so much fun.
“I just get so excited watching her shoot,” added the coach. “It’s beautiful. It’s textbook.”
There’s clear admiration from the player’s side, as well.
“[Coach Mastrangelo’s] the reason I’m here in the first place,” said Arnold. “She recruited me from eighth grade and brought me in here to tour and everything and she’s developed me into the player I am over the past four years.
“I wouldn’t be here without her.”
But the season is far from over, and both Nikki and Coach are looking forward to challenging for some team accolades.
“I think we just need to keep playing hard on defense and keep our momentum,” said the senior. “If we play hard on defense, that usually translate into fast breaks and good layups and shots.
“Our defense is really our game and I think that this game wasn’t maybe our best defense, but we picked it up in the end and that’s what really want us to game.
“And I think if we can continue that will have a good shot this year.”
Coach Mastrangelo was a little more direct.
“We got through this game tonight,” she said. “It was not our prettiest performance, that’s for sure.
“And that’s a good thing to know that that was not our best performance; to know that we have to work harder if we really want to accomplish our goals.”