BRIARCLIFF, N.Y. – Briarcliff High School girls basketball player Cassidy Carrafiello is The Briarcliff Daily Voice Athlete of the Month for February after emerging as a team leader even though she is only a sophomore.
Carrafiello took it upon herself to keep the other players’ spirits high after senior Brianna Celaj was injured and missed the rest of the season.
“We had a lot of hardships throughout the season,” Carrafiello said. “We lost Bri at the beginning of the season, and I just knew that everyone, including myself, was going to work twice as hard as everyone else to reach our goals. … There was never a time to quit, and we always had to keep going.”
The Bears made the playoffs as the seventh seed and defeated No. 10 Woodlands, 50-48, in the first round of the Section 1 Class B playoffs, But the Bears fell to No. 2 Blind Brook, 55-38, in the quarterfinals.
Carrafiello’s leadership also translated onto the court. She was the team’s second leading scorer, and coach Don Hamlin said she was the catalyst for the Bears’ success.
“When she plays well, the team really does play well. She’s taken on a lot more responsibility this year with running the offense,” Hamlin said. “She definitely increased her scoring and took a larger leadership role on the floor.”
Carrafiello has two more years at Briarcliff and plans to continue the work she started this year on and off the court. At first, it was intimidating for the sophomore to lead. But she should have no problem taking charge in her final two seasons.
“At first I was nervous, but then I got over the nerves, and then I just naturally stepped into it,” Carrafiello said. “It was just easier as time went on because I got closer with my team as the season went on.”
The Student-Athlete of the Month is chosen by the sports reporters and editors of The Daily Voice.