KINGSTON — Seated in the stands cheering on their junior varsity, the Bridgewater-Raynham girls’ basketball team awaited its first game of the 2018-19 slate. Freshman Shay Bollin sat in the corner by herself listening to music and stretching, occasionally providing words of encouragement to the sub-varsity Trojans.
Was she nervous for her debut? Absolutely not.
The 6-foot-2-inch freshman displayed numerous tools in Bridgewater-Raynham’s 55-29 victory at Silver Lake on Friday. In the season opener for both sides, the 15-year-old Bollin made a strong impact finishing with 16 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 steals.
“I honestly wasn’t nervous because I’ve played in so many high-pressure games before,” Bollin said. “I just went into it thinking it was a normal basketball game with different players.
“I was really excited to start off the season.”
She began playing as a kindergartner on a YMCA boys team. Bollin started playing for a fourth grade AAU team as a second grader and started hearing from college coaches by grade six. Last year in eighth grade, her club team played at the varsity level. She’s had plenty of experience.
Bollin’s first career bucket came via a putback. That was the key to her game, a keen court awareness and an eye. She’s completely bought into the mantra B-R coach Cheryl Seavey preaches, “One team, one family.”
“When she has a good look and chooses to give it up for a better look, that’s a perfect example of a team kid,” Seavey said. “She’s giving up a shot she can readily make for an opportunity to score that might be a higher percentage shot.”
Marisa Beauvais benefitted from Bollin’s unselfish play as she nailed five 3-pointers en route to a game and career-high 17 points.
“It felt good and boosted my confidence,” Beauvais said.
Bollin helped B-R get out to an early 7-0 lead which held for the game’s entirety. When she went to the bench with a second foul midway through the second quarter until halftime, Bollin did not sulk.
“She was vocal on the bench, cheering on her teammates — she was encouraging,” Seavey said. “Those are all the qualities I saw earlier and they’re still getting enhanced today.”
Bollin came back in to start the third and nailed a deep left-wing triple to expand a double-digit advantage and followed with a steal and two free throws.
“I just figured if I go back in, play tough, stay out of foul trouble, we can keep getting the score up and do better the next quarter,” she said.
While her name is new to the MIAA, Bollin is already widely considered a top prospect nationally in the class of 2022.
Dan Olson, Director of espnW HoopGurlz, ranks Bollin among the top 25 players in the country for her class.
“She’s got the ability to dominate right out of the gate,” Olson said. “To have the ability that she does to step out and shoot the 3 with consistency and play on the block . . . She has little a Larry Bird-esque in her.”
Before attending her first high school class, Bollin had 15 college basketball scholarship offers from a handful of universities including powerhouses Georgia, Ohio State, and Louisville, according to her mother Laurie.
Bollin is certainly a welcome addition to a Trojans squad that went 18-6 last year and rode a 16-game winning streak before falling in the Division 1 South semifinals. For the first time in her four-year tenure, Seavey started a freshman as Bollin, the only ninth-grader on the roster, joined a trio of seniors and a sophomore.
High school hoops is an exciting new challenge for Bollin, and her addition to the B-R roster certainly bolsters the Trojans’ chances to vie for the Division 1 title.
“I’m definitely looking forward to it, and I’ve already become really close with my teammates that I didn’t know before,” Bollin said.Greg Levinsky can be reached at email@example.com.