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Player Spotlight
Bria Hartley

From Bulldog To Husky
Jay Mumford

If Bria Hartley gets her shot blocked, she’ll just laugh and get back on defense. But on the North Babylon Lady Bulldogs’ next trip down, rest assured that the opponent will pay.

“She just has so much fun out there”, said North Babylon HS Head Coach Mike Petre. “You try to teach kids long memory on success, short term memory on failure, but she’s just got it.”

Despite Hartley’s amiable nature, when it comes to team mascots, it doesn’t get more ferocious than Bulldogs and Huskies. Therefore, its only right that one of the nations toughest, most talented and highly touted guards is making the huge transition from North Babylon to the top-rated women’s hoops program in the NCAA, the University of Connecticut. A tough jump indeed, but the 5’10 Hartley has her parachute ready for a smooth landing.

“It was a long process, but I just took my time and enjoyed playing for the coaches so I knew I’d make the right decision”, the 2008-09 NYS Girls Gatorade player of the year said. “(UCONN) Coach (Geno) Auriemma is a hard coach, and he’s going to push me. That’s the type of coach I’d like to play for because he’ll make me better.”

With rigorous summer workouts with respected skills trainer Jerry Powell and AAU experience with Exodus NYC under her belt, Hartley’s willingness to do whatever it takes has separated her from the pack. “I think she’ll be able to play with (UCONN) from the first day she steps foot on the campus”, said Coach Petre. “She has all of the ability, the confidence and the training to do well there.”

After a recruiting process that included sifting through interest from Division 1 powerhouses like UNC,Georgetown, Tennessee, Duke, Stanford and Kentucky, Hartley is primed to go #1 with a bullet. Pressure? Its merely a word in the dictionary somewhere between performer and prime time, two words have become synonymous with Hartley since she’s made yearly leaps and bounds from her freshman campaign.

“She had terrific ball skills, even as a freshman, but every year we saw an incremental jump”, Coach Petre revealed. “She’s really added to her game with shooting that pull up, which has become unbelievable. Her help defense is terrific now, and she’s improved her movement off the ball.”

Now a Top 5 prospect for the 2010 class, Hartley’s complete game is off the leash when facing opposing point guards. But sometimes being a “complete package” requires more than the slash and dish, the all net trey, the lock down defense or the no look pass. An all-around student-athlete, Hartley notched triple-doubles off the court as well.  She‘s been an MVP throughout the halls of North Babylon as a member of the Honors Society. But beyond both books and hoops, she’s even piqued some interest for soccer and lacrosse, her moonlighting sports.

“I considered UNC, because I’d be able to play both lacrosse and basketball”, she admitted. “But I decided I only want to play one sport in college.”

Before she secures her Husky legacy in her new home at Exit 68 (off of Highway I-84), she has some business to attend to as a Bulldog. Hitting the 1500 career point mark at North Babylon last month was a milestone, but there’s still some more hardware to stuff in her trophy case.

“Last year was upsetting, we should’ve gone further”, she admitted in regards to last season’s playoff exit to Copiague, who NB thrashed twice during the regular season by a total of 47 points. “This year, we have a lot of young kids on the team and they want to experience a championship. I want them to experience it too, so we’re going to go as far as we possibly can.” 

If Hartley’s big time stat line of 27.4 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 5.5 SPG and 5.4 APG isn’t enough to lead the way, nothing is.



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