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Article Published April 16, 2020

Kellaher’s Defense Gives Opponents Fits

By By Dean Bibens

Moira Kellaher has developed a reputation as the defensive stopper on the Guilford girls’ basketball squad. Moira’s prowess on the defensive end of the court proved a key component for the Indians during a nice campaign that saw them continually get better.

Moira is a junior who plays the point guard position for Guilford. She grew up playing basketball with her three older brothers: Aidan, Sean, and Colin.

“I only started playing basketball because they played,” says Moira. “Once I started playing, I realized that it’s a lot of fun. I enjoy watching and playing.”

Moira played travel basketball for Guilford from 4th to 8th grade. She spent a lot of time working hard to improve her game when she wasn’t on the soccer field.

“I’m always giving 100 percent,” Moira says. “I enjoy both sports a lot, and I always get asked which I like better. I like them both. It’s hard to decide.”

Guilford got out to a rough start by losing 8 of its first 10 games this winter, but turned things around in order to qualify for both the Southern Connecticut Conference Tournament and the Class L State Tournament. Moira and company went on to notch a 44-21 victory versus Naugatuck in the first round of the state bracket.

“We had a slow start, but we continued to improve as the season went on, and I saw my own game improve,” says Moira. “I really focus on the defensive side of the ball, because getting steals and rebounds are so important in winning games.”

Moira made crucial contributions for the Indians on defense, while also chipping in on offense throughout the season. Moira averaged 6 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 5 steals per game for first-year Head Coach Bernie Brennan’s squad.

“Moira was one of our point guards who often led the team in steals and rebounds. She never got tired and was always hustling all over the court,” Brennan says. “Often, she would swoop in out of nowhere to get a steal or a rebound. We expect big things from her next year.”

Moira says that she enjoyed working with Coach Brennan in his first campaign on the bench. Moira also values her relationship with Sam Leiby, who served as one of the Indians’ senior captains.

“Sam was a friend and teammate that I could always talk to during a game when I was stressed out, and we always had a good time,” Moira says. “Coach Brennan was a big factor and reason why our team improved the way it did this year. He cared about all of us and took the time to help us get better in practice.”

The Indians recorded several notable wins this year. Moira’s favorite was when Guilford exacted revenge on Law by earning a 41-21 victory against a team that it had lost to previously in the season.

“At that point in the season, we knew it was a must-win game,” says Moira. “That game sticks with me, because we lost by 16 points to that same team earlier in the year.”

Aside from basketball, Moira also plays outside midfielder for the Guilford girls’ soccer team, which claimed SCC and Class L state titles on its way to a record of 18-2-4 last fall. Moira scored a pivotal goal in a penalty-kick session to help the Indians defeat Law in the second round of states.

“It was really awesome to be a part of a championship team,” says Moira. “We had a great season, and I’m hopeful we can repeat our success next year.”

Moira is involved in the Unified Sports program at Guilford High School. She’s also taking some Advanced Placement courses and is starting to look into what colleges she wants to attend after she graduates.

“I really enjoy Unified Sports because of all of the people involved,” Moira says. “It’s a great program with a great cause.”

As for next season, Moira has high hopes about that the Indians can achieve when they get back on the basketball court in her senior year.

“We are going to miss Sam and Elle [Petra] next year, but we have a good group of girls coming back,” says Moira. “I’m looking forward to the challenge.”