Sports Person of the Week
Erskine Led the Cougars on the Court
Alec Erskine made a smooth transition from point guard to shooting guard while leading the H-K boys’ basketball team as a senior captain this winter. (Photo courtesy of Alec Erskine )
Time and again, Alec Erskine came through in pivotal moments for the Haddam- Killingworth boys’ basketball squad during the 2021 campaign. Alec served as a senior captain for the Cougars this winter and proved both a reliable player and a quality leader in his final season with the team.
Alec turned in one of his best performances of the year when H-K hosted Coginchaug in the first round of the Shoreline Conference Tournament on March 20. Alec scored 20 points to help the Cougars post a 78-28 blowout versus Coginchaug in that contest. H-K ultimately took a loss to Cromwell in the semifinals, but still had a solid season that culminated with a record of 7-7.
“I love the pressure and competition, especially when our team can pull out a close win,” Alec says. “I have been playing basketball for 10 years now, and I focus on my effort, along with my mobility, flexibility, and quickness. Those aspects are the most important to me, because they can help me have a positive impact on my team on both sides of the ball.”
This year was a bit of a different experience for Alec as he stepped into a new position. After having previously played point guard, Alec suited up as a shooting guard for the Cougars in his senior season. Alec thrived in his new role, and Head Coach Jim Abbott says the senior’s success stemmed from how hard he worked to get acclimated to life as a shooting guard.
“Alec has been a great leader this year. His role has changed a bit from the last two years, going from the point guard to the two guard. He has embraced it and has worked hard on making the change,” says Abbott. “Players look up to Alec as he has been a three-year starter. He is part of a core of five seniors who have played together since the early years of travel. It is great to watch how they are not just as teammates, but as friends. They all will be missed next year.”
While he performed well throughout his senior season, Alec’s favorite memory of playing basketball for H-K occurred during his junior year. In February 2020, the Cougars pulled off a 65-63 upset versus Morgan in a game that Alec will always remember.
“My favorite moment as a player was beating Morgan last year with the huge student section behind [then-freshman] Mason Gorham’s incredible performance,” says Alec. “It was electric and one of the most exciting moments of my sports career.”
Aside from basketball, Alec also plays baseball for both H-K and the CT Edge travel team. A pitcher who also plays catcher, Alec features a three-pitch arsenal that includes a four-seam fastball, a curveball, and a changeup.
Alec, who recently committed to play baseball at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU), batted .333 with 14 RBI for Head Coach Mark Brookes’s squad as a sophomore two years ago. He’ll be a captain for the team this spring.
“I am going to be playing baseball at SCSU. I am very excited for that, but still have my senior season with H-K, where I am looking forward to having a successful season,” Alec says. “My hope is to bring Coach Brookes back what he deserves.”
When he isn’t on the hardwood or the diamond, Alec enjoys spending time with his friends and working out at the gym.
“I just got into lifting this past summer. That is now something I like to do often,” says Alec. “Besides that, I love spending time with my friends and practicing baseball whenever I get the chance.”
Alec values the lessons that he’s learned from both Coach Abbott and Coach Brookes throughout his four years at H-K. Alec credits his coaches for helping him develop into the athlete that he is today.
“I value my relationship with Coach Abbott a lot. I feel like I could go to him to talk about anything, and he will give me good feedback and I know he has my back. He’s a great coach and an even better guy,” Alec says. “Coach Brookes has taught me how to play the game correctly, while still doing everything possible to secure a win. He also preaches teamwork like no other coach I have ever had, and that’s what makes the program so successful. He makes sure that everybody is willing to do whatever it takes to succeed, which I have learned how to do from him.”
Even though H-K boys’ hoops came up short of winning the Shoreline Conference title this winter, Alec still had a great time with his teammates. Alec believes that what H-K achieved during the recent season helped set a successful tone for the program for years to come.
“I feel like it obviously could have gone better, but it was a good way for our group of seniors to go out after playing together for so long,” says Alec. “We didn’t bring home any trophies, but we had a good time with each other on and off the court, and I feel like we set a good tone for years team to keep things rolling.”