Scoring milestone part of Seton Hill star's basketball journey

| Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014, 8:55 p.m.

Most college basketball players would view scoring 1,500 career points as a milestone that marks an achievement of pronounced success.

For Paige Alviani, scoring her 1,500th career point was an enjoyable accomplishment, but Seton Hill's senior point guard prefers to measure her personal success by the triumphs of her team.

“It's pretty cool to accomplish that,” Alviani said of the milestone, scored on a layup in the second half of the team's victory over Mansfield University on Jan. 4. “But we have more important goals as a team. It was cool when it happened, but now we're focused on keeping our winning streak going.”

Alviani reached the milestone in the midst of a three-game winning streak for the Griffins, who are 11-5 overall and 3-3 in their very first season of PSAC play. She would rather focus on the team's streak then pause to reflect on her individual achievement.

Her team-first attitude has helped shape the mentality of the team, according to first-year coach Mark Katarski, who calls Alviani a “leader by example” and describes her approach to the game as blue-collar.

In no instance is this description more emblematic then when Katarski depicts the moment in which Paige scored her 1,500th point.

“Over the PA system, an announcement was made about Paige scoring her 1,500th point,” Katarski said. “Well, when they made the announcement we were in our team huddle during a timeout and nobody even flinched. No one said anything to her. She didn't say anything. We just went back out and played the game.”

The humdrum reaction is exactly how Alviani would prefer it. For her, the joy she receives from the game doesn't come with her accomplishments, such as averaging 16.2 points per game, or leading her team in assists (3.4) this season. Her love of the game is derived from the camaraderie she shares with her teammates and a penchant for competition that was instilled in her from a young age.

“Ever since I was little, I grew up watching my dad coach my two older brothers,” she said. “We're a basketball family. I've always played with my brothers, Chad and Clay. We have a hoop in the backyard and we play when their home. We get real competitive.”

Paige credits this love of competition for developing the work ethic that drives her to succeed as a student. Last season, she was awarded the distinction of Academic All-American, along with teammates Katie Gattuso and Tiara Stossel.

“Basketball really helped me with my work ethic,” Alviani said. “The sport taught me that when you work hard, you see results and that's helped keep my grades up.”

Still, Alviani doesn't pause to reflect on her success. Just like the scoring milestone, she views her accomplishments as part of her treasured journey with basketball.

“I wouldn't trade this experience for anything,” Alviani said. “I love Seton Hill and I love the basketball team here. I don't want this to end.”

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.

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