A number of athletes mark the start of a new season by circling a date on the calendar in red.
That was never quite the case with Katharine Fogarty, though; once she started playing basketball, she never stopped.
A 6-foot-2 senior forward at Governor’s Academy in Byfield, Fogarty has compiled quite the on-the-court resume.
She is the program’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder, a three-time first-team Independent League All-Star — leading the league in scoring each of the last three seasons and on target for a fourth — a three-time first-team selection to the New England Prep all-star team. Averaging 23.5 points and 15.1 rebounds per game this season, she is on target to finish her impressive career with 1,700-plus points and 1,100 rebounds.
, her future coach at Marist College, a Division 1 program in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., calls Fogarty a tremendous talent.
“I can’t wait to have [her] on the team,” he said.
That will come soon enough, next fall. In recalling his recruitment of Fogarty, Giorgis noted how hard she plays at both ends of the floor, and her skill set offensively, which includes a strong perimeter game.
Her game hasn’t always been so flashy.
As a kid growing up on the Cape, she learned the game like most kids do, playing with her father, Paul , in the driveway.
She would shoot for hours, endlessly chasing down balls and putting them up again, just because it was fun. She didn’t play on a team until the sixth grade, when she joined her school’s travel team, an experience that would have a dramatic impact on her future.
Towering over all the other girls, at first glance, she was a coach’s dream. But despite her stature, the self-described “clumsy” kid couldn’t manage to crack the lineup and sat at the end of the bench, playing little in her first season.
“I was really, really bad,” Fogarty remembered. “But I always watched sports with my dad, and he told me that [professional athletes] worked hard to get there, so I just decided that that was what I wanted to do.”
With her newfound commitment, she joined an AAU squad, the Cape Cod Waves, and started playing year-round. That summer, as she grew into her frame, and she began to hone her skills, she developed a true passion for the game.
“It’s when I realized I loved the sport because I loved the team I was playing with and I loved going to tournaments every weekend,” she said. “It was my favorite thing in the world.”
Her family moved up to Peterborough , N.H., and she suited up for another AAU program, the New England Crusaders. But it was not a seamless transition, at least on the court. She was no longer dominating.
“When I started playing AAU up here, it was like sixth grade all over again,” Fogarty said. “Everyone was really good, they all loved it just as much as I did, and they all worked at it as much as I did. So I had to face adversity again and just sit on the bench and work hard to earn my spot.”
As Fogarty started her freshman year at ConVal Regional High School, in Peterborough, her game was still not clicking.
Her salvation was her AAU coach, Nashua native Kara Leary , a former standout at University of Notre Dame, who offered encouragement and mentorship that helped take her to the next level.
“When I played for her, she was the role model that I always wanted,” said Fogarty. “She had been there [playing high-level basketball] and built herself up to be one of the best coaches and players.”
Fogarty transferred to Governor’s Academy, reclassified to the class of 2013, and challenged herself on and off the court. Since day one, Fogarty has thrived, but not without remembering the work effort that got her there in the first place.
“She came in here right away, and her goal from the beginning was to be the best and bring the rest of us along with her,” said GA coach Erin O’Connell .
“She’s in the gym all the time, all year round, hours before games, getting ready to go.”
And she does so with a personality that has been embraced by the coaching staff, teammates, and classmates.
“She’s a goofball,” O’Connell said simply.
“Her teammates love her. She has a way of deflecting the spotlight, and has this warm side to her that they gravitate to. There’s not a cocky bone in her body. She’s incredibly humble but incredibly driven and competitive.”
Giorgis seconds that assessment.
“You could just see it — she had a great personality,” he said. “She just seemed like a great kid. We recruit the person first, before the player.”
As a captain, and one of four seniors, she has helped propel Governor’s to a 13-4 mark with five regular-season games remaining, including a tall task Wednesday against a Noble & Greenough team that entered the weekend unbeaten. Everyone has to be in 100 percent,” said Fogarty of what it will take Governor’s to be successful in a possible run in NEPSAC Class B tourney. Not one person can’t be, or we’re not going to win. Everyone on this team is fully invested in it and we’ve just got to keep that up until the end of the year, which will hopefully be March 2.”
March 2 is the date of the New England Prep championship games. And yes, Fogarty has the date circled on her calendar.
Falcons manage to soar without leading scorer
With the return of a solid nucleus, including three starters, from a Division 3 state championship squad, the expectations were high for the Danvers High boys.
The Falcons have met every challenge, and then some, with a 17-0 start. And it has not been easy.
Six games into the season, senior captain Nick McKenna , the team’s leading scorer, was diagnosed with mononucleosis, forcing him to miss eight games.
“The kids just played hard,” said coach John Walsh. “They really rallied around Nick being sick and every one stepped up.”
Junior Kieran Beck
, the team’s sixth man, was tremendous. Sophomore big man Vinny Clifford
also stepped forward, draining eight
3-pointers against St. Mary’s of Lynn.
McKenna made his return last week, scoring 13 points against Saugus, followed by a 34-point outburst against Winthrop.
Although the Falcons entered Thursday’s matchup against Gloucester unbeaten, they have not looked too far ahead.
“We take it one game at a time,” said Walsh, “try to prepare best for that team in front of us. To win the state championship you have to win whatever game is in front of you at the time.”
The Melrose High boys will put their perfect mark on the line Monday against Arlington Catholic. . . . The Billerica girls clinched the Merrimack Valley Conference crown with a 76-47 win over Andover. . . . The Whittier Tech girls (16-1) captured the Commonwealth Athletic Conference title with a 66-57 win over Shawsheen on Wednesday.
Pat Bradley can be reached at email@example.com.