Frongillo’s Passion for Basketball Makes Hopedale a Tourney Threat

KEN HAMWEY Staff Sports Writer
Photos by Steve Bassignani
Issue Date: 
March, 2019
Article Body: 

Bri Frongillo’s passion for basketball has enabled the freshman point guard to direct Hopedale High’ offense like she’s a seasoned veteran.
After a snowstorm, she’ll grab a shovel and start clearing the driveway at her home to get some added practice time. And, no matter what day it is, basketball dominates her thoughts.
“I think about basketball every day,’’ said Frongillo, a Hopedale native who directed the Blue Raiders’ offense last year as an eighth-grader. “I think about what I can accomplish in practice and what part of my game I can improve.’’
Her coach, Corey Phillips, is a big fan of the way she approaches the sport, saying: “If Bri could sleep in the gym, she would.’’
The 5-foot-2 Frongillo led Hopedale to an 11-9 record last year and into the Districts. That was the Blue Raiders’ first winning season in four years. And, she was chosen as a Dual Valley Conference all-star as an eighth-grader.
This season, the 14-year-old again has been a key cog, helping the squad compile an 11-6 record at Local Town Pages deadline. Those numbers will give the Blue Raiders two consecutive appearances in the playoffs. “My goals at the start of this season were to win the DVC title, qualify for the Districts and win them,’’ she said. “We’ll likely finish second to Sutton in the league but it’s realistic that we can capture the District title. We’ve got the talent, our team chemistry is good and our attitudes are positive.’’
Frongillo’s statistics at Local Town Pages deadline are significant. She’s averaging 18.1 points, 3.1 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1.9 steals. But, it’s her composure that makes her a breed apart.
“Bri is an excellent ball-handler who has great court awareness,’’ Phillips said. “She’s got a high basketball IQ and she’s very athletic. I also like her ability to finish plays.’’
Taking the point-guard reins as an eighth-grader never was an issue for Frongillo because she started playing basketball at age five (Hopedale Youth League) and she already has six years of experience competing at the club level.
“Playing the point comes naturally,’’ Frongillo said. “I don’t feel any pressure in that role but there is a lot of responsibility, much more than at other positions. I’m aggressive on the point but I’m working to be more analytical. It’s important to make the right decisions, so I try to focus on taking what the defense will give me. And, when I face a double-team or have to deal with a box-and-one defense, I try to find open teammates.’’
Frongillo is hoping she and her teammates will provide some high-quality efforts in the tourney. So far, her best game in her two-year career occurred last season when Hopedale defeated Dover-Sherborn. She took control of the outcome in the game’s final two minutes.
“I scored on a mid-range jumper and also converted two free-throws,’’ Frongillo recalled. “I finished with 20 points but playing well down the stretch was the key.’’
Frongillo’s top thrill in her brief tenure was earning DVC all-star honors last year. “That was amazing,’’ she said. “I’d like to achieve that honor again. A lot of credit goes to my teammates. They’ve given me support and helped me in many ways. All our players this season are contributors whether they start, come off the bench or support the team vocally.’’
As a freshman, Frongillo is acutely aware that there’s always room to improve and she knows where she has to elevate her game.
“I need to limit my turnovers and improve my free-throw shooting,’’ she noted. “I’ve struggled a bit at the line but I’m working at it. If I focus on making the right play, then my turnovers will decrease. Another area I can improve on is developing more control in the paint. I tend to rely on a Euro step there and I often get called for traveling. If I use jump stops, that should help my decision-making.’’
Frongillo is quick to credit her coach for Hopedale’s success the last two years. “Coach Phillips is a great motivator who devises excellent game plans,’’ she said. “He’s very capable and prepares us very effectively.’’
Rating her best offensive moves as a mid-range jump shot and driving to the basket, Frongillo also is capable of using her diminutive frame to finish off a drive by sinking a “floater.’’
On the academic front, Frongillo is as intense with her studies as she is about basketball. An honor-roll student for the last two years, she leaning towards attending a Division 1 college where she plans on majoring in either sports psychology or sports management. “I want to play basketball in college and my goal is to play at a Division 1 school,’’ she said. “But, I’ll be open to all possibilities.’’
Frongillo has learned some valuable life lessons from athletics. They include overcoming adversity, learning how to lead and how to develop quality relationships.
Her athletic philosophy is also solid. “It’s important to compete hard and to win,’’ she emphasized. “It’s also a must to reach your potential. If you’re experiencing success and playing to your potential, then enjoyment and fun will follow.’’
All the Blue Raiders’ players are now focused on the Districts and they’ll be aiming for a successful run. And, if there’s a championship in Hopedale’s future, then Bri Frongillo will be richly rewarded for her dedication and passion for basketball.