Wahconah Regional High School senior Maria Gamberoni drove down the lane from the top of the key and scored midway through the first quarter for the 1,314th point of her high school career -- passing previous school record-holder Duquette, a 1989 Wahconah graduate.
“I’ve never personally talked to him,” Gamberoni said after finishing with 15 points (1,323 and counting) in a 61-19 win over Monument Mountain. “I know my dad used to guard him.”
Anthony Gamberoni, a Taconic High graduate, was courtside on Saturday along with several of Maria’s family members but not many other folks due to the COVID-19 pandemic as she etched her name into the school record book.
“I know he was a great player,” Maria said of Duquette. “My dad said he was the best player he ever had to defend. … [My dad] said that every game he had at least four fouls and Pat always ended with a ripped jersey.”
Duquette could not attend Saturday afternoon’s game to pass the torch to Wahconah’s new scoring royalty. He was busy coaching the UMass-Lowell men’s basketball team in the America East semi-finals.
But his sister, Jacqueline McLaughlin, a Wahconah math teacher, was on hand to represent the family during a brief in-game ceremony to mark Gamberoni’s achievement.
“I just felt so fortunate to be able to reach this goal,” Gamberoni said. “Just to be able to play at all this season is a great feeling. I feel fortunate, especially since my parents and grandparents were able to be here today. They’re my biggest supporters.”
Gamberoni scored her first points of the game at the foul line. Then she went to the left hand for a lay-up in transition to tie the record. A steal in the backcourt by her sister, freshman Olivia Gamberoni, set up the possession that produced the record-breaker.
Gamberoni led the break off the steal but chose to kick it to the wing and set up the offense. Freshman Grace Wigington ended up with a try for 3 from the right wing corner, but it rimmed out, and Olivia Gamberoni saved the rebound on the baseline, getting the ball back to Wigington.
She passed to Maria Gamberoni up top, and after pausing and, perhaps, considering a 3-pointer of her own, she went to the hole and finished with the right hand as she has hundreds of times before.
She did knock down a triple later in the game on her way to game-high scoring honors.
Morgan Marauszwski had three 3-pointers to finish with nine, and Olivia Gamberoni and Wigington each also scored nine points.
Abby Wade finished with seven points for Monument Mountain (2-9), which hosts Pittsfield on Monday.
In addition to being a milestone afternoon for Gamberoni, the game moved Wahconah to 17-0 on the season with one week remaining.
One very busy week.
On Wednesday, Wahconah hosts Taconic, and on Thursday, Drury comes to town. On Saturday, the Wahconah boys and girls entertain Pittsfield in the final games to be played in the current Ed Ladley Gymnasium in what’s soon to be the old Wahconah High.
As emotional as Saturday promises to be in Dalton, the Wednesday battle between unbeaten Wahconah and the reigning Massachusetts Division 2 Co-Champions figures to be one of the highlights of the winter.
“They have a lot of talented players,” Gamberoni said of Taconic. “I’m excited. They’ve only been practicing for a week, but I’m sure they’re excited to get on the floor, and I’m excited to play them, definitely.”