Sports Person of the Week
Lawson Steps Up for the Rams as a Junior Captain
Riley Lawson is making key contributions on both ends of the floor while leading the Old Saybrook boys’ basketball team as a junior captain this year. (Photo courtesy of Riley Lawson )
The Old Saybrook boys’ basketball team had a roller coaster season this winter. However, though all of the ups and downs, junior captain Riley Lawson emerged as a calming and consistent presence for the Rams.
Riley averaged 10 points, four assists, and four rebounds per game for Old Saybrook during the regular season, helping the Rams post a record of 6-6. While he had a solid year as a junior, Riley is his own biggest critic and wants to continue striving to improve for his senior campaign.
“I think I have room for improvement in every aspect of my game. I think I need to work all around to get myself better,” says Riley. “The competitiveness and drive to be the best that you can is what pushes me to get better.”
Head Coach Chris Perras describes Riley as a vocal leader who knows exactly where to be on the court at all times. Riley plays both point guard and shooting guard for Coach Perras’s squad.
“Riley is smart player who knows what needs to be done to win, and he understands the game. He takes all criticism, wants to know what he’s doing wrong, and how to fix it,” Perras says. “Riley has bought into my style since day one as a freshman on the junior varsity team. Guys follow his energy.
“He doesn’t realize how much of an impact he has on the game, so we let him know daily,” Perras adds. “He’s taken this all in stride, has learned how to develop his game, and is learning how to lead on both ends of the floor. He’s an awesome kid.”
Earning a spot on the Rams’ varsity roster during his freshman season is a moment that will stick with Riley for the rest of his life. Riley calls it the greatest accomplishment of his high school career to date.
“Being added to the varsity team when I was a freshman was a great moment for me, and it was a huge goal of mine and felt great to achieve it,” Riley says. “I had a lot of fun practicing and playing with that team and will always remember being added to that team.”
Since that moment, Riley has kept working hard in an effort to further his progression on the basketball court. Last summer, Riley spent time with personal trainers and played a lot of basketball with his friends on a recreational basis.
“I practice over the summer with trainers that I play with and also go to the hoops at the town rec with my teammates and play with them,” says Riley. “I also work on things like dribbling and shooting in my driveway and practice on my outdoor hoop at home.”
Riley turned in one of his best performances of the season when he scored 20 points in a 55-45 victory versus Coginchaug on Feb. 23. Then on March 1, Riley netted 17 points to help Old Saybrook get a 58-33 win over North Branford.
Riley feels proud of the Rams for how they’ve held their own in the Shoreline Conference this season.
“I feel like the team has done well so far this year. I am proud of how we have played, and I think we have played well,” Riley says. “We really play as a team, and we go out and play together every night. Some strengths of our team are shooting, finishing, and we play good defense. We also play well together, and there is great chemistry on the court. We could work on keeping the ball safe and not turning it over as much and also could work on rebounding as a team.”
Riley has hopes of playing basketball at the collegiate level after he graduates from Old Saybrook. While he’s only a junior, Riley is already looking at a few schools.
“If I had the opportunity to play college basketball, I think it would be great, and I would like to play,” says Riley. “I feel like it would be a great experience and would be nice to further my basketball career as a player.”