2012-2013 Mass Prep Stars Girls Public School Player of the Year: Olivia Healy ‘13 Reading
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
This year's 2012-2013 Mass Prep Stars girls public school player of the year is Olivia Healy '13 of Reading Memorial High School.
Healy recently concluded her storied career at Reading as the school's all-time leading scorer (1,899 points) and an MIAA state champion (Division 2 in 2011-2012).
Healy was also recently named this year's Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year with many more individual post-season accolades surely on the horizon.
The 5-foot-10 wing forward averaged 27.8 points, 11.0 rebounds, 5.3 steals, 3.8 assists and 2.0 blocks per game in 2012-2013.
After helping lead Reading to an undefeated Division 2 State Championship in 2011-2012 she led the Rockets (23-1) to the D2 state-semifinals this season before bowing out to eventual state champion Medfield.
This Season: Reading rode a 48 game unbeaten streak through most of the season before losing to Medfield 59-51 in overtime in the Eastern Mass. finals at the TD Garden last week. Their unbeaten streak lasted through two seasons and included the 2011-2012 D2 State Championship.
"We had a magical run even though it was just short of perfection," Healy said. "Facing the adversity that Morgan’s (O'Brien) injury brought us, I would never have expected us to make the run we did this season."
We never played to win and we were not afraid to lose," Healy said. "Every game we played hard regardless of what the scoreboard said. Our teams pre-season ranking was quite low for us. We used that as motivation to prove to people what a hardworking team we are and how we rally together when we get beaten down. We played well against teams in the Middlesex League, capturing the title, and that in and of itself was a great victory.
The signature game of the season for Reading was a 73-69 comeback win over eventual D3 State champion Archbishop Williams in the championship game of the Comcast IAABO Board 27 Classic. This was the second consecutive year that Reading took home the Comcast crown. Healy finished the night with 40 points and 10 rebounds in a dominating performance.
"The win against Archies was by far a game I will always remember when thinking about this past season," Healy said. "Everyone contributed in that game and overall it was a team win where all five of us played as one on the court. We made a statement that we were not going to back down, no matter what."
Although they did not repeat as state champions this season Healy and her teammates will always hold a special place in the Reading record books.
"It is always harder attempting to pull off a repeat," Healy said. "Not looking ahead to the final games, but rather focusing on the next game that needed to be played. I have been given great opportunities here at Reading and I am so thankful. I am able to say I was a part of a special run that is going to remain in the school’s history for the years to come. This season was also so special because it was Coach (Kim) Penney’s last season so it felt like we were all just leaving together and finishing off careers together."
Reading Memorial High School: As a three-time Middlesex league Player of the Year Healy continued to improve her game each season by adding a new element to her craft.
"At Reading I transformed as a basketball player and as a person," Healy said. "I started off as a post player and worked my way up to a guard. I was taught to work hard for everything I want, but never give up if things are not going your way. Off the court we were always taught that same principle of working hard at everything you pursue. The relentless mindset Coach Penney preached to us every day at practice fueled our tournament runs from last year’s game at the DCU Center to this season’s Boston Garden game."
Off-Season: Healy has not only improved her game each year but has improved her conditioning as well. As hard as she worked on the court with Coach Penney and the Rockets she also made an effort to focus on her offseason work.
"These past nine months have been nonstop playing," Healy said. "In the fall and spring, I go to Athletic Evolution in Woburn where I work on my explosiveness and agility. I also build my strength and endurance up there as well."
"On the off days in those two seasons, as well as in the summer, I played for the NH Rivals. In that program I worked on becoming a better ball handler and worked on my pull up jump shot that really came into play this season. The NH Rivals also allowed me to travel around the East Coast and play against some of the most elite players in the country and get the maximum amount of exposure. Over the years I have tried to make my game complete and work on many aspects of the game so I could become a more versatile player. I attribute this to my will and desire to want to get better. I am always open to learning more about the game and taking in any criticism I can in order to get better."
Richmond: Healy will continue her basketball career next year at the University of Richmond. The Lady Spiders concluded the 2012-2013 regular season with a 16-15 record and play NC State in the WNIT first round on Thursday.
"Now that the season is over, I am as eager as ever to get down to Richmond," Healy said. "My coaches came to many of my games this season and I think that says a lot about the program. They care about academics as well as athletics, and they are a very supporting coaching staff. I have been down to visit a few times and every single time I go there I do not want to leave. There are a great bunch of girls on the team who work hard on and off the court. They made it to the WNIT’s and I wish them the best of luck. I know it is going to be a difficult transition, but I am ready for it and I will continue to prepare for it until mid-June when I report to school. I will have to keep working on my ball handling and working on my endurance and explosiveness if I want to be able to make an impact at the next level."
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