Maria Gamberoni Scores 1,000th Point in Wahconah Girls' Win
DALTON, Mass. -- A global pandemic forced Maria Gamberoni to wait a couple of extra months.
A Nor’easter forced her to wait a couple of extra days.
When she finally got on the court, Gamberoni was in no mood to wait.
The Wahconah senior Wednesday scored her 11th point of the night less than five minutes into the game to reach the 1,000-point plateau for her career en route to a 63-13 win over Mount Everett.
“I just kind of wanted to get it out of the way because I was so nervous about it,” Gamberoni said. “I just wanted to play without thinking about it. I was excited when I got it, obviously.”
And, like the other Berkshire County basketball players who finally got to open their 2021 season on Wednesday, she was excited just to stop practicing and start seeing people with a different color uniform.
“[The wait has felt] so long, especially because we didn’t know if we were going to have a season, then it got pushed back, then we were supposed to play on Monday and then it got canceled,” Gamberoni said. “I was like, ‘Is this even meant to be.’ It just felt so long. I’m glad to be out here.”
With 989 points in her first three seasons, Gamberoni obviously has been a prolific scorer throughout her time at Wahconah, but she surprised even her coach a little when she scored 11 of her team’s first 14 points and put back her sister Olivia’s miss in transition to make it 15-2 and join the 1,000-point club.
“She’s a kid who has given up shots for three and a half years,” Liz Kay said. “She’s deferred over the years.”
Kay was not surprised to see Gamberoni reach the milestone by hustling in transition to convert an offensive rebound.
“That’s about right for her,” Kay said. “She just works. She’s a workhorse. Unfortunately, we’ve been a part of a lot of 1,000-point players that have been on the other teams, and usually you’re a lot tighter than that. So for her to come out and just play loosely and to get to so early, I was actually really surprised.
“But it makes sense it was on a putback.”
After a brief stoppage for some photos, Wahconah continued an eventual 17-0 run that ended with Maria Gamberoni’s bucket in transition.
The Eagles got five in a row thanks to a pair of Emma Goewey free throws and Mackenzie Ullrich’s 3-pointer to make it 19-7. But that was as close as Mount Everett got the rest of the night.
Sophia Drury closed the first quarter with a bucket in the post, and Wahconah’s trademark defense posted a bagel in the second quarter to take a 35-7 lead into half-time.
In the third quarter, it stretched its lead to 47-9 when Noelle Furlong hit a triple and a basket in the post on back-to-back trips.
Furlong finished with nine points, second only to Maria Gamberoni’s 23. Emma Belcher added seven points in the win.
Goewey scored eight points and pulled down eight rebounds for the Eagles. Ullrich had 11 boards.
Gamberoni said after the game that she finished the 2020-21 season not knowing how close she was to 1,000 points.
“I had no idea,” she said. “After the Hoosac game [in the Western Mass finals], when our season ended, I met with coach, and she said, ‘How many points away do you think you are?’ I said, ‘I have no idea.’ I’d never thought about that. She said, ‘You’re 11,’ and I was like, ‘Oh, OK.’ That’s when I found out.”
At the time, anyone who has been following Berkshire County girls basketball could have predicted Gamberoni would reach 1,000 in the season opener. But no one could have known that opener would come on the third day of February.
“I never imagined this, obviously, so I’m very fortunate to be able to reach this milestone at all this year,” she said. “I know a lot of good teams and a lot of good players aren’t playing, so I’m just thankful to get this opportunity, obviously.”