After a near QUADRUPLE-DOUBLE on Wednesday night (https://herhoopsnetwork.com/2022/12/09/winter-szn-groton-vs-rivers/ ), I declared Rivers guard Nina Minicozzi as being ” back .”It got me thinking. Who else around the Northeast is “back”? After a full week of games and top performances, I spent hours (per usual) scrolling through Twitter to see what I missed this week. There were many big-time individual and team efforts over the past few days, and here are a few that caught my eye.
Eva DeChent || Putnam Valley ||PG || ’23
There was no louder “I’m Back” than DeChent’s this week. She comes out the gates in game 1 with 52 points and follows it up with another 40 ball. What more do you want me to say? The URI commit is a walking bucket who has gone nuclear to start the winter.
I wouldn’t say LuHi is “back,” per se. They arrived long ago and have been on a tear, but I could not push their win against Bishop McNamara on the back burner. LuHi won 77-75, and saying they got strong individual efforts from the team is an understatement. ’24 point guard Kayleigh Heckel went off for 27, 6, and 6. LuHi big Kate Koval (’24) had a monster double-double of 22 points and 20 rebounds (also added 4 blocks). ’24 wing Syla Swords contributed 15 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists in the winning effort. This team is stacked.
Tilton lost their home opener by 25. In Tilton’s next game, they bludgeoned their opponent by 34. Tilton is back. That is such a massive statement after a loss, but this is who Tilton is as a team. Very mentally tough, focused, they turn the page and come back stronger. They registered 29 deflections, 18 steals, and 15 offensive rebounds in that win against Winchendon. That is petrifying.
Mia Fiore || St. George’s || PG/SG || ’24
I streamed the St. George vs. Beaver Country Day game earlier this week, and Mia Fiore was easily my favorite player of the night. That was my first time watching her in live action, and Fiore put on a second-half show. She put on a clinic in the 4th and helped St. George’s overcome a 13-point deficit and win. 16 points and 10 rebounds for the combo guard in her team debut.
Issy LeBron || Holy Cross || PG/SG || ’23
LeBron didn’t waste time showing off the range this winter. In a blowout win, LeBron netted 17 points and 5 threes. She hasn’t cooled off since the summer. Get used to these kinds of numbers. LeBron is a dead-eye sharpshooter who you need to respect at all times.
Ella Flanagan || St. Mark’s || SF || ’24
I haven’t seen Flanagan play up close in a while because she has been in and out due to injury. I love seeing her light up the scoreboard to start the year! I got tagged in a tweet about her performance vs. Williston-Northhampton the other night. Flanagan finished with 22 points and 9 rebounds. She also added 4 blocks. That’s how we are feeling? We are protecting the rim now too, Ella? You’re officially BACK!
Hayle Thompson || Governor’s Academy || C || ’23
Thompson was 2 rebounds shy of a double-double in Governor Academy’s 26-point win in their home opener. Good start for the Connecticut College commit! Thompson is establishing herself on the block early this season, and I like Governor’s guard play to complement her low post presence. The “Governor’s Ball” is back.
Payton Sfreddo || Sacred Heart Greenwich || SG || ’24
I have yet to see Sfreddo play in person, and after what I saw on Twitter the other night, a trip to Sacred Heart Greenwich is locked in! On the road against Greenwich Country Day, Sfreddo goes off for 20 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 steals. Great bounce-back game for the team after losing the season opener. Payton Sfreddo…officially back.
Sophie Nascimento || Ursuline ||SG|| ’25
Nascimento went for 19 points, 16 rebounds, and 5 steals in a win vs. New Rochelle the other night. A box score that screams, ” I’m Back!” She plays on the Empire ’25 team (which I am a huge fan of), so I’ve seen Nascimento give opponents hell consistently; these stats do not surprise me. Ursuline seems like a vibe. I might have to make a trip out that way and catch them in action.
Olivia Fleming || NMH || PG || ’26
Fleming is back and kicked off her high school career with a win and an impressive stat line. She had 15 points and 5 rebounds in a close win against Thayer. Fleming is a ’26 prospect to watch out for this season because she has a chance to have the best season of any freshman point guard in New England.
Izzy Allen || Central (ME) || PG/SG || ’24
Death, taxes, and Izzy Allen tossing up effortless 30 balls. Elite-scoring big guard Izzy Allen unsurprisingly dropped 37 points to get Central High School season started on the right note. Ireland that Allen got off to a cold start and then in typical Allen fashion dropped 27 in the second half. Yeah…she’s back.
Kristen Phelan || Tappan Zee || PG || ’25
I saw Phelan recently at the Upstate Super Scrimmage about a week ago, and you could tell she was on the verge of being back. She led Tappan Zee to victory against Ardsley, posting a team-high 24 points. Tapan Zee is a fun watch. Another group to keep an eye out for this season.