Vincentian forward Bartoszewicz gives basketball team different dimension
Last season, the Vincentian Lady Royals basketball squad won a WPIAL championship with a team predicated primarily on a strong senior class. With the majority of that team graduated, a strong freshman class paired this season with a strong sophomore center (Brenna Wise) to shoulder a lot of the scoring.
The one constant during both championship runs was the play of junior forward Ally Bartoszewicz. She doesn't score the most points, pull the most rebounds or even garner a great deal of attention. But she brings a toughness and willingness to do a little of everything, which has made the difference in several games this season.
Bartoszewicz has a cousin who plays guard on the team. Abbey Bartoszewicz said that despite the tough role Ally plays, she is kind of a shy, laid-back person
“I have been working harder on my offense, so I can help more there, but I am primarily a defensive player,” Ally Bartoszewicz said. “My assignment varies from team to team, and sometimes changes during the course of a game.”
With a tough mentality and the physicality to match, Bartoszewicz doesn't put a lot of stock into what people or the media say. She goes out and brings a grittiness to the court that, when paired with Wise, creates a staunch frontcourt.
“A lot of our success has to do with chemistry,” Bartoszewicz said. “It has been nice to play with Abbey and Brenna since grade school. Vincentian is such a small school, it does not take long to get to know everyone. I like that family aspect.”
Wise and Ally Bartoszewicz will be back next season.
“Ally is a tremendous girl, polite, and not many people realize she is a genius when it comes to academics,” Wise said. “She is a tremendous athlete, and I love her as a teammate.
“She works her butt off on defense and does not get pushed around.”
Ally Bartoszewicz takes the family aspect to heart, especially with the large group of young players on her team. As a role player on the title team last season, she got to contribute but also did some watching and listening. The massive graduation loss could have derailed the season as four new starters had to emerge, but Ally Bartoszewicz didn't see it that way.
“It's refreshing to have young talent and energy … it's a different feel,” she said. “We play fast-paced and quick. It's very exciting now but there is potential for years to come.”
With back-to-back WPIAL titles and having won three of the past four WPIAL titles, the Lady Royals will lose one starter at the end of this season, making Ally Bartoszewicz the only senior starter next year.
With the talent in place, the junior forward said it is mostly about preparation, something coach Ron Moncrief does well.
“You have to be able to mentally process what you need to do,” she said. “He wants us to be confident but always humble. You always need to go out and do your best.”
Ally Bartoszewicz also said that an appreciation for getting to play is important. She missed seven games due to a concussion and made sure to be 100 percent before returning.
“I took an elbow to the head and had to take the time to let my brain heal itself,” she said. “You can't take the success for granted. It is exciting to think about the opportunity to get a third WPIAL championship next year.”
Abbey Bartoszewicz said Ally bounced back quickly from the injury.
“She came back so hard,” Abbey Bartoszewicz said. “It was hard for to sit out when she was hurt, but I believe in her and she was able to bounce back.
Ally Bartoszewicz may have missed some early games, but she said perhaps her favorite game was the PIAA opener against Kennedy that helped her snap out of a scoring slump.
“It was great being more of a part of the win,” she said.
Jerry Clark is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org.