Thursday, December 18, 2008

Brittany and Brooke latest stars from O'Shea Academy

Averill Park junior Brittany O'Shea (left) and freshman Brooke O'Shea (right) are just two of the five O'Shea siblings who all play basketball. The Lady Warriors were ranked No. 10 in the initial New York State Sportswriters Association poll. (JS Carras - The Record).

The two O'Shea sisters are having a great year so far on the Averill Park team. Brittany is the team's offensive leader at point guard and Brooke, a versatile forward, is the second-leading scorer, averaging eight points per game.

Their older sister Meg, is a junior at Saint Michael's College in Vermont, while Gerard is a freshman starter at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs.

Caitlin, age 12, is earning her stripes on local youth teams.

Their father, Gerald, is instrumental to the youth leagues in town, especially the teams at Saint Henry's Church in Averill Park. It's a program that's given hundreds of kids in the area something to do in the winter and it's also made the school's varsity teams strong year-in and year-out.

The Lady Warriors have 11 juniors on the team - bolstered by two freshmen. No seniors or sophomores are on the roster.

“Most of the girls, the juniors, we’ve been together since house league. Since second grade,” Brittany O’Shea said. “We know how to play together. We know the game and my team plays well together.”

Weather permitting, Averill Park hosts Bethlehem in a crucial Suburban Council South Division game on Friday night.

"I don’t think there is any question, at least in the Suburban Council, that Bethlehem is the AA favorite," Averill Park head coach Sean Organ said. "They’re led by Meg Olsen, a great outside shooter, and they control the paint interior with Alex McCullough. Those two players alone are fantastic players. We’re going to have to figure out a way to slow Meg Olsen down and defend her. With Alex, we have to make sure we box out and keep her out of the paint."

The success of the O'Shea sisters (and siblings) is just another example of how the youth programs have easy Averill Park's transition from a small-conference school to one that now plays with the biggest, Class AA teams in the Capital Region.

"One of our goals is to take the Suburban Council South Division this year and I think it would be an incredible accomplishment if we can do it," Organ said. "In order to do that, we have to get these wins. Hopefully we’re successful in that, and even if we’re not, there are benefits to it. We’re playing tougher teams, which prepares us for the postseason. That’s an advantage that other A teams in other leagues don’t necessarily get."

Check out the full story, as well as the latest Section II standings, in Friday's edition of The Record.

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