Frongillo’s Hoop Prowess Big Plus For Hopedale Girls Quintet

KEN HAMWEY, Staff Sports Writer
Issue Date: 
February, 2020
Article Body: 

Determination, desire and commitment make Bri Frongillo a rare-breed basketball player and it’s those attributes that have colleges like Holy Cross, Boston University and Bryant focusing on her talent.
When she started for the Hopedale High girls basketball team two years ago as an eighth-grader, it seemed like she’d eventually conquer the learning curve. Now, as a sophomore, the 5-foot-2 point guard continues to flatten the curve because she’s improving at every turn.
Accolades and recognition usually arrive for players in their junior or senior years. For Frongillo, she’s been a Dual Valley Conference all-star as an eighth-grader and as a freshman. And, when she was crowned the DVC Player of the Year as a freshman, it was obvious she was a special competitor. After all, few freshmen average 17.7 points, 3 assists, 3.6 rebounds and have an assist to turnover ratio of .88.
With less than a month left in the Blue Raiders’ regular season, they’re aiming for a tourney berth (4-3 record at Local Town Pages deadline) and Frongillo is averaging 21.7 points a game (first in the DVC, first in Division 4, and second in all of central Mass.). She’s also averaging, 3.3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2.7 steals a game.
What puts the Hopedale native in elite territory at such an early stage of her career is her work ethic, her drive and her long range goal — she wants to play Division 1 college ball.
“Bri is devoted,’’ said her coach, Corey Phillips. “Her work ethic is strong. Her ball-handling is impressive, her court awareness is great and she can score on a mid-range jumper, on a three-pointer or a drive to the hoop. She’s very creative, very capable and unselfish.’’
Frongillo’s passion for basketball and her desire to play the point are a combination that leads to a sound decision-maker.
“When I started playing basketball at the age of five, I liked controlling the tempo,’’ she said. “It’s a position that demands lots of decision-making. I’m not a pass-first point guard or a shoot-first guard. Whatever the situation calls for is what I try to do. It’s about making the right pass or taking the right shot.’’
Besides her devotion and dedication to the game, Frongillo has a plethora of strengths. She’s got a high basketball IQ, relies on instincts, her speed and quickness are assets, and she strives to excel on defense. Her skills and technical ability are off the charts, thanks primarily to her six years of playing AAU basketball.
Since arriving on the varsity, Hopedale has been a playoff participant for the last two years. Frongillo was on the sidelines for the Blue Raiders’ first two tourney games last year because of illness. Hopedale won both games but bowed in its third outing to Maynard.
“My team goals this season are to win the DVC title and go father in the tourney,’’ she emphasized. “Those objectives are realistic because, in spite of losing five seniors to graduation, we’ve got a good core group back and our team chemistry is good. My teammates did a great job winning the first two games in the playoffs. I’m hoping to be able to contribute this year. It was disappointing missing those games.’’
Frongillo’s personal goals include another berth on the all-DVC team, improving her statistics and surpassing 1,000 career points. “Those individual goals are possible if I keep improving daily and work hard,’’ she said.
Acutely aware that her coach and her colleagues are major keys for Hopedale to succeed, Frongillo is a fan of both.
“Lilah Casey (guard), Carly Smith (guard-forward) and Maeve Griffin (forward/center) are smart players who are motivated,’’ Frongillo noted. “They want to win, they work hard and they’re key contributors. Coach Phillips cares about the program and he’s knowledgeable. He’s a solid motivator who believes in us and has helped us to improve.’’
The best game of Frongillo’s career was an overtime loss to Northbridge last year. She scored 33 points, a career high. “We lost by six (76-70) but we gave everything we had,’’ she recalled. “The ball was dropping for me and I got my share of assists, steals and rebounds. As for my thrills so far, it’s simply playing high school ball and enjoying the game. I’d also rate being named Player of the Year in the DVC as a thrill.’’
A top-notch student, Frongillo is considering majoring in psychology, film studies or graphic design in college. She’s currently attracting lots of attention because of her basketball skills. “A division 1 college is my goal,’’ Frongillo said. “I’m starting to get letters of interest.’’
Relying on a competitive philosophy that focuses on improving, reaching her potential and having fun, Frongillo firmly believes that “if those things occur, then winning will follow.’’
Athletics often teach valuable life lessons and Frongillo concurs. “Overcoming adversity is a great lesson that can be learned when competing,’’ she emphasized. “I’m always striving to be a good leader and a point guard is in position to lead. Being accountable is another lesson that sports teaches.’’
Rating her three-point shot as her best offensive weapon, Frongillo says: “I rely on court awareness and instincts to be an effective passer and to make split-second decisions.’’
AAU basketball has been a big part of Frongillo’s hoop diet and she’s played in tourneys from Louisville to Las Vegas and from Chicago to Atlanta. “Sam Doner has been my coach and he’s been very supportive and encouraging,’’ she said. “Whether it’s conditioning or dribbling, I really love the game. It’s challenging and it’s team-oriented. When we lose a game, I’ll dwell on it for a day, then move on. The next practice leads to the next game.’’
Frongillo often has shoveled snow off her driveway to play basketball and she’s occasionally been called a “gym rat’’ because of her intense devotion to the sport.
At Hopedale High, her coach captures her passion for basketball with these words: “If Bri could sleep in the gym, she would,’’ Phillips said.