VERONA, NJ - A Verona freshman has not only proven herself as a star athlete and a stellar teammate, but also as an essential starter on the varsity team – an impressive accomplishment for a freshman player.

Kylee Gallagher has been playing basketball since she was in kindergarten and even more seriously since fifth grade, and now she is being recognized as a force to be reckoned with on the court.

“It’s an honor to know that people consider me to be such a promising athlete,” Gallagher said. “It is great to know that all the hard work and time I’ve put in has paid off and has been recognized by a lot of people.”

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Gallagher has already earned 227 points this season, with 22 of those points being scored in her best game against Golda Och, a game that gave the player her first career double in points and rebounds.

“Basketball is something that comes naturally to me,” Gallagher said. “I like how there are many different aspects to the game and you can’t just be good at one part of it.”

Gallagher is great at many parts of the sport, including rebounding, scoring and handling the ball, she said. Of course there are always areas to improve on, and for this Hillybilly it’s her three point shot, which she said she hopes to improve on in order to be “more of a mismatch offensively.”

Her height is also something Gallagher admits can be difficult. At 5 feet 7 inches tall, Gallagher said she is often up against taller, stronger and more experienced seniors whom she sometimes struggles to guard and score on offensively.

Still, the young player – who plays as a forward and a post – has managed to become a starter as only a freshman.

“Starting varsity as a freshman has been a great experience so far,” Gallagher said. “I have great teammates that have taught me a lot about the sport and push me to become a better player.”

To Coach Jessica Del Vecchio, it is no wonder Gallagher has already made it so far in her career. Del Vecchio knew Gallagher was a special player after seeing her play in summer league, she said.

“She is coachable and works very hard every day. With each game under her belt she shows the type of player she is going to be,” Del Vecchio said. “I love watching her grow every game and cannot wait to see what her future has in store for her.”

Gallagher hopes to earn 1000 points over her career at Verona, and beyond that, the talented freshman hopes to play basketball at a competitive college.

“If it wasn’t for having such great guards, this wouldn’t be possible,” Gallagher said of her success. “I would be nowhere without having my parents always there to support me and dedicate their time to helping me become the player I am today. It means a lot to me that my parents are always there to cheer me on, even when I’m not playing my best.”