SOMERS, N.Y. — Gabby Rosenzweig is the type of player every coach wishes they had on their team.
The senior point guard brings it all to the court and more, and basketball is not even her No. 1 sport.
It all played out perfectly for the Pennsylvania-bound Rosenzweig and the Somers Tuskers as she reached 1,000 career points in a 50-44 win over visiting Yorktown on Senior Day on Tuesday, Feb. 9. The Tuskers also secured the League 1-D championship and earned their second league title in three years.
“She’s an amazing kid,” Somers coach Kristi Dini said of Rosenzweig. “She deserves everything that comes her way because of how hard she works on and off the court and the person she is for this team on and off the court. This is my fourth year and she’s my only kid that’s been on varsity with me for four years, so it’s pretty special. It’s just special for her because of how much she’s given this program. We kept it a secret because she’s so unselfish and she had no idea. I don’t even know if she thought it was a possibility based on her last three years, but she’s had such a monster year this year that it just snuck up on us. We pulled out the old books and we were like, ‘Wow.’ We figured it out when she was around 950-ish which was like three games ago. It’s just incredible for her.”
Rosenzweig, who finished with a game-high 22 points, was one point away heading into the game and secured the milestone on a free throw less than two minutes into the game.
“I guess I was just one point away right in the beginning of the game,” said Rosenzweig, who did not know she was at 999 career points heading into the game. “I had no idea. I went to the line and made my first free throw and the buzzer started going off like crazy. I was so confused and everyone started taking out their phones and taking videos of me. But then they got out the balloons with the 1,000. I was just really surprised and really caught up in the moment. It was really overwhelming for me and it was awesome.”
The senior went 12 for 12 from the foul line, which was crucial in closing out the win down the stretch. She also swiped three steals and grabbed seven rebounds.
“She’s just an amazing athlete,” Dini said. “A Division 1 lacrosse player that could have played college basketball. She’s the hardest worker in the gym and just gets it done. She’s also the best defender on the court and defense creates offense. She’s smart, she pushes the ball, her decision making. She just gets it done for me and this team every game.”
There are less than 10 players in Somers girls’ basketball history who have reached 1,000 career points, so Rosenzweig finds herself in elite company.
“It’s such an honor to even be in the same category as all those other girls,” Rosenzweig stated in her regular humble fashion. “I honestly am really surprised and had no idea that was happening. It’s just really amazing and it’s something I’ll remember forever."
Somers also won the league championship outright and finished the regular season with a remarkable 18-2 record, which is the best regular season record in recent memory for Somers varsity girls basketball.
“I don’t think any of us thought that this is where we were going to be at the end of the [regular] season,” Rosenzweig said. “We’ve come a long way and grown so much as a team. Thinking back to those first scrimmages and how much we’ve grown throughout the year and how much closer we’ve become, it’s really one of my favorite teams I’ve ever played with and played on. I’m really proud of us.”
Dini said that it means so much to her to see the hard work pay off for her Tuskers.
“If you asked us last year what the make-up of the team would be, who would be on it and if we would be in this position, I think maybe we’d be like, ‘I don’t know,’” Dini said. “From Day 1 at tryouts there was just this energy in the gym and after the first couple of scrimmages, we were like, ‘Wow, this is gonna be a special year.’ It’s just so great because they deserve it. People don’t know how hard they work and the time they put in outside of practice with film and walkthroughs. They’re just an amazing group of kids that click. Even though we have Gabby, there’s really no superstar. Everybody wants everybody to do well. Nobody cares who’s doing what as long as we’re getting it done as a team and we’re coming up with a win. It’s just a really special group.”
It was a tight game throughout with Yorktown, but sophomore Liv Lipski, who had six points, extended the lead to 44-38 with a 3-pointer with 1:53 left in the game.
Somers led just 23-21 at halftime, but extended its lead to 39-29 after three quarters before the Huskers made a game of it in the fourth.
“We were kind of struggling with energy in the first half,” Rosenzweig said. “We managed to get the energy up and start to feed off each other on the little things. We weren’t really hitting shots.”
Freshman Hannah Angelini added 13 points and had seven rebounds in the win. Senior Megan McHugh added six points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.
The seniors were honored before the game in Rosenzweig, McHugh, Allie Arcidiacono and Hannon Eberts.
“Hannon Eberts is a freak athlete,” Dini said of Eberts, who has committed to Vanderbilt for soccer. “If you watched her in sprints in practice your jaw would drop. She’s the fastest girl I’ve seen all year. Her athleticism and her defense is huge. Megan’s obviously been so great for us inside in the post. Her presence inside with rebounds and on both ends of the floor. If they’re worried about the guards on the perimeter, she’s scoring and she’s huge defensively. Allie is an amazing athlete that will do whatever it takes for her team to win. She's one of our toughest defenders and stepped into a huge leadership role as a captain this year because of her work ethic and the energy she brings to this team on and off the court."
Somers earned the No. 2 seed in the Section 1 Class A playoffs and squared off with Hendrick Hudson on Feb. 16. If they advance, the Tuskers will take on either No. 7 Pearl River or No. 10 Walter Panas at home in the quarterfinals on Friday, Feb. 19.
“There’s definitely pressure that comes with that,” Rosenzweig said of being the No. 2 seed. “In the end you’ve just got to win all the games to get to the County Center anyway. Everyone wants to win. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s going to be a lot of pressure, but I think we can handle it. I’m excited.”
Since the semifinals have been moved to the Westchester County Center, Somers girls basketball has never made it past the quarterfinals, but the Tuskers are looking to achieve that this year.
“I think the kids are just really excited,” Dini said of sectionals. “They don’t let things get to their head and they stay humble. We talk about not having regrets and just being us. Every day — one practice at a time — one game at a time. They’re excited and they’re ready. We accomplished some of our short term goals and now they’re ready for a long term goal.”
Class A is stacked as per usual with top-seeded Ursuline along with defending champion Peekskill at the No. 6 seed.
“There are some teams that are amazing who are the No. 7 seed or the 8 even,” Rosenzweig said. “Just because of strength of schedule and they’re playing really tough teams. Peekskill is in Ossining’s league so there’s two losses right there. It really comes down to just fighting and wanting to stay hungry. You really don’t understand what it’s like to be a senior and not wanting to lose until you’re a senior and you don’t want to lose. I think that’ll definitely be strong motivation for me and the other seniors and everyone else on the team.”