Pittsfield Co-op Athlete of the Week: Gabby Lavinio
Wahconah Regional High School, Senior
DALTON, Mass. — With her team in a gigantic hole to start the season, Gabby Lavinio never put down her shovel.
The senior guard played a pivotal role in helping the Wahconah girls' basketball team overcome a rough 3-6 start, leading the way for the Warriors as they won eight of their last 11 games to qualify for the Division 2 Western Massachusetts tournament.
Lavinio had several key games for Wahconah over the final month of the season, including scoring a game-high 16 points in a pair of wins over Palmer and Pittsfield. Her standout performance of the year came last Saturday, however, as she made several clutch plays down the stretch to lift the Warriors to a 61-53 overtime win over Frontier, which clinched Wahconah's 10th win of the season.
Lavinio scored a game-high 23 points, grabbed a crucial steal with her team trailing by four points with under 36 seconds to play and sank the game-tying free throws with 0.7 seconds left on the clock to send the game into overtime. The Warriors' guard then made six more foul shots in overtime to help her team return to the Western Mass. tournament after missing out on the playoffs with a 9-11 record a year ago.
"Gabby's game against Frontier was huge," Wahconah head coach June Blake said. "Not only does she hit the free throws to send it into OT, but she also came down with several offensive rebounds in overtime. That, as well as going 9 for 10 from the free-throw line down the stretch to close out the game."
The Warriors split their final two games of the regular season to finish at 11-9, but were awarded for their tough North Division schedule with a No. 4 seed in the Division 2 bracket. Wahconah will host No. 5 Belchertown, the winner of Tuesday night's game against No. 12 Southwick, on Friday night.
If the Warriors plan on making a run at their second Western Mass. title in the past three years, Lavinio will likely have a big say in it. She currently leads her team in both scoring (12.74 ppg) and assists (2.26 apg) while also ranking third in rebounding (4.84 rpg). Lavinio is also one of the top 3-point shooters in Berkshire County, sinking 33 shots from behind the arc through the first 19 games of the season.
"Gabby has been a great leader to our team," Blake said. "She has a never-quit attitude, and it shows when she plays. Gabby will do whatever she has to to give us an opportunity to win."