McDonald In Elite Category After Scoring 1,000th Point

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

The Natick High girls basketball program added a new chapter to its history when it defeated Brookline, 70-39, on Jan. 8 at the Redhawks’ gym.
Senior captain Brenna McDonald scored on a rebound put-back, surpassing 1,000 points for her career and becoming the third Natick player to top that number. She joins Lexi Gifford and Justine Gaziano in the 1,000-point club.
A power forward/center, McDonald grabbed a rebound off a Laney Ross three-point attempt and scored on a lay-up just as the buzzer was sounding to end the first half. The 6-foot-2 McDonald entered the game with 989 points and finished with 20, giving her a career total of 1,009.
“I’m honored and humbled to achieve this goal,’’ McDonald said. “It’s a nice feeling to reach that number with all the players I’ve known since middle school. And, it was great to hear the fans applauding at halftime and to see signs that congratulated me. When I started my career, 1,000 points was a goal but my top priority was to focus on being a team player.’’
McDonald, who’ll be playing in college next winter for Yale, has been a key cog for the Redhawks. At Local Town Pages deadline, she was averaging 16 points, 15 rebounds and 3 blocks a game. And, Natick’s prospects for another deep run in the tourney look solid — the Redhawks were 6-1 after seven games.
“I am very proud of Brenna for achieving this milestone,’’ said coach Dan Hinnenkamp. “ It is a true reward for all of the hard work that she puts in. Most girls will never score 1,000 points, so to join this elite club really says a lot about her as a player and person.’’
A Bay State Conference all-star, McDonald relies on a variety of assets that make her a breed apart. She’s a strong rebounder, has a high basketball IQ, is unselfish and resilient. And, she’s a quality leader.
“As one of three captains, I try to lead by example,’’ she emphasized. “During games, I strive to do my best in terms of scoring and rebounding. I also try to lead by being a good communicator, by calling out plays and helping us get into position.’’
A National Honor Society student for the last two years, McDonald chose Yale over 15 other colleges. Some of the other schools included Holy Cross, Northeastern, Harvard, Brown, Bryant and Bentley.
“I can see myself fitting in at Yale,’’ she said. “It’s a good mix of athletics and academics. The coaches seem to care about their players and head coach Allison Guth said she liked my ability to rebound and my hustling style. I’m not sure what I’ll major in but it could be liberal arts.’’
McDonald’s philosophy of competing is basic — she strives to play her best and elevate her teammates. “I always try to exhibit a strong work ethic and to enjoy athletics,’’ she said. “Some key life lessons I’ve learn from basketball are to be resilient and mentally tough, to be a strong leader, to be supportive and to reach your potential.’’
Thankful that so many fans were on hand for the 1,000th point, McDonald was appreciative that her parents (Kathleen and Michael) and other family members were present. “I want to thank my family, friends and all my coaches from AAU basketball to high school,’’ she said. “My teammates, who sent so many passes my way, deserve credit for this achievement. And, I want to thank my aunt (Maureen Kelly) for helping me learn the sport at a young age.’’
The other 1,000-point scorers for Natick continued their careers in college. Gaziano went to Brown where she played at a high level and Gifford enrolled at UConn where she played softball.
It’s interesting that McDonald’s favorite pro athlete is a former UConn star — Breanna Stewart, who plays in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). “She has size, is versatile and possesses a strong skill set,’’ McDonald noted.
Natick has its own version of Stewart in McDonald and it would be very fitting for the Redhawks’ frontcourt star to finish her senior year with a victory in the tournament final and enjoy some time as a State champion.