A Legacy Of ExcellenceSchatzlein Leaves Her Mark On Tolland Basketball
For those who were awe-stricken by Kristin Schatzlein’s memorable performance in the CIAC Class M girls basketball championship game on March 16, the Tolland High School senior had a different visceral response to the Eagles’ 55-47 loss to Weaver at Mohegan Sun Arena.
She scored 32 points, grabbed four rebounds, made two steals and assisted on one of the four baskets her teammates managed to score. Throughout much of the game, Schatzlein, a 6-foot forward/guard, was the show. But it simply was not enough for her and the Eagles to clutch the grand prize.
Schatzlein’s emotions, naturally, were raw after the game. All of the energy and effort, the planning and practicing and conditioning by her and her three other senior classmates (Jenna Lovett, Allie Gallo, Jessica Olson) was just too much to handle when the ultimate goal, was not realized.
“It’s tough,’’ Schatzlein said. “We tried as hard as we could but it just wasn’t enough.’’
When her impact on Tolland basketball history is revisited, the disappointment of the final game will take its proper perspective behind all the accomplishments of the past four years.
Schatzlein was named Connecticut Gatorade Girls Basketball Player Of the Year and was All-State as a junior and senior. She was named to the all-conference team all four seasons in her career.
She became the Eagles’ career leader in points scored earlier this season, surpassing her older sister, Kelly, a junior forward at Merrimack College. Kristin Schatzlein will continue her basketball and academic career at Fairfield University in the fall.
When the 2012-13 season begins at Tolland High, Schatzlein will be the new measure by which all future Eagles players will be judged.
Schatzlein averaged more than 20 points a game, with nearly 10 rebounds, six assists, six steals and two blocked shots during 2011-12. But she was more than an amalgamation of impressive statistics. On the court she was no-stop motion, always working for a better driving angle or a better way to create space for her silky smooth jump shot.
“We all knew about her,” Weaver coach Wendell Williams said. “Her moving without the ball was definitely the key for her scoring.”
Schatzlein’s teammates appreciate her all-around contributions and selflessness. “I’m very proud of her,” Olson said. “She’s a good individual player but also a great team player.”
“She’s a player who makes us all better,” Gallo said.
“Kristin is a great leader on and off the court,” Lovett said. “You couldn’t ask for a better teammate and friend.”
Tolland coach Rocco Sansone valued Schatzlein to an immeasurable degree yet his dialogue with Schatzlein wasn’t exactly coddling in nature. Imploring was more of his style with her.
“As far as a being a coach, I’ve been all over her for four years,” Sansone said. “For as much ink as she’s got, I’ve tried to push her to be a better player. But I’ve become her biggest fan, just to sit there and see her drop a three on another team, that’s been something.
“She almost never got upset. With the game she had (in the Class M final), all that proves how she deserved the [Gatorade] award. To borrow from Geno [Auriemma] on Diana Taurasi, ‘I have Kristin and you don’t.’ In my eight years at Tolland and three years at St. Joseph in West Hartford, I never had an opportunity to coach a player of that ability,” Sansone said.