Taryn O’Connell not only plays under the basket but also “plays under the radar,” according to her basketball coach at Georgetown High School, BarriAnn Lorenzo.
“In a league with big schools like Masco, North Andover, and Ipswich not much attention is paid to little Georgetown and Taryn O’Connell,” claimed Coach Lorenzo.
The neglect seems unfair since the Royals’ senior has been a four-year starter, has reached 1000 points, and is closing in on an even more impressive stat – 1000 rebounds.
She is currently in the 900s in rebounds and her 12 per game average could get her to that 1000 mark by the end of this season. That would put Taryn into the exclusive career quadruple/quadruple club that Ipswich High (UMaine recruit) Amber Smith just entered on January 27th.
“When you stop and realize that rebounds only come one at a time and points can accumulate one, two, or three at a time you see how significant the 1000 rebound mark is,” explained Coach Alonzo.
Coach Alonzo has coached Taryn for four years. “She is great at deflecting attention away from herself,” said the coach. “For us, she is a leader off the court and the stat leader in all the categories on the court.”
Joining the varsity as a freshman, Taryn had ten points and eleven rebounds in her first game. “I was 5-7 and the taller girls had graduated so I played right away,” said Taryn, recalling the start of a career packed with big numbers.
Those big numbers, through ten games this season, have Taryn with 47 (That’s not a typo!) double/doubles.
You would like to think that there was a highlight game somewhere in that run but Coach Alonzo couldn’t think of one. “Taryn is always so consistent for us in points (20+ per game) and rebounds (12+ per game) that her numbers don’t fluctuate very much. Her reliability is her trademark.”
Taryn was quick to credit her parents with helping her get ahead in basketball. “My mom offered me the option in 5th grade of joining an AAU team,” she said. “I accepted and when I started practicing those extra sessions I developed a love for the game.”
She added that her dad was her rebounder when she practiced at night in the summer in the backyard. “He even landscaped the backyard so that we have a flat surface and put up a nice, glass backboard.”
The Royals qualified for the state tournament last season and hope to again this year despite a possible losing record. “There is something called the Sullivan Rule,” explained Coach Alonzo. “If 70% of your schedule is against teams from higher divisions then you only have to win 50% of the games with the teams of your division size that you play against. If we can defeat either Manchester-Essex or Rockport in upcoming games we’ll qualify.”
Next year Taryn expects to be playing basketball in college. “I’ve been accepted at WPI and I’m waiting to hear from Hobart and Bates,” she said. “I have talked with the coaches at those places about basketball so there could be opportunities for me.”
“Taryn started in the post but when she stopped growing taller she realized that she needed to improve her ball-handling and outside shooting if she was going to play in college,” said Coach Lorenzo. “With hard work she has developed into a 3-point shooter and sometimes will bring the ball up for us.”
Coach Alonzo started an email to me by saying, “I can’t wait to brag about Taryn.” Now I know why.
(Prepared to appear in The Town Common on February 11th.)