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Sports Person of the Week
Mortimer Honored to Lead the Easties as a Senior Captain
Brooke Mortimer worked her way up the ranks to play varsity for the East Haven girls’ basketball team as a senior and also led the Yellowjackets as a captain this year. (Photo courtesy of Brooke Mortimer)
With her older sister Ciara having played basketball for East Haven, Brooke Mortimer grew up with an up-close look of what it takes to compete for the Yellowjackets. When her time came to join the Easties, Brooke blazed her own path during a four-year career that saw her grow as a basketball player and earn a captain’s role as a senior.
“We had a basketball hoop outside, so we would shoot around and have little basketball games,” Brooke says. “Growing up, I was always bad at left-handed layups, so [Ciara] would try and help me work on that. I ended up really liking it, so I stuck with it.”
Brooke started playing organized basketball in the Sal Tinari Biddy league when she was six. Brooke joined East Haven’s travel league in 4th grade and later played three seasons at Joseph Melillo Middle School. As she competed for the middle school team, Brooke began to realize just how much she loves basketball.
“From 6 to 10, it was kind of like I had been playing, so I’m going to keep playing. Once I reached middle school, I really started to enjoy it and enjoyed who I played it with,” says Brooke. “I got really interested in it. The more I played it, the more excited I would get for games. It made how much I care about I grow.”
Brooke signed up to play for the Yellowjackets in her freshman year at the high school. She spent her first season playing for the JV team, while occasionally sitting on the varsity bench. Brooke’s transition to the high school level changed her perspective on the game. As soon as she joined the program, Brooke was welcomed with open arms by her teammates and felt like she was part of a family.
East Haven won the Class M state title during Brooke’s freshman campaign. Being part of the championship run was one of the biggest highlights of Brooke’s time with the Yellowjackets and a memory that she will never forget.
“Winning the championship was one of the most amazing feelings I’ve ever had. I wish I could go back and relive it,” Brooke says. “You don’t have things like that happen every day. It was crazy. I remember it in my sleep. It was so amazing.”
After playing JV during her sophomore and junior years, Brooke made the jump to the varsity team as a senior this season. Brooke, a guard, says that her experience of competing for the Easties for the past four years taught her how to be more confident on the court.
“As a freshman, they would put me in against the varsity girls, and I was honestly shaking. I would be so nervous,” says Brooke. “As the years went by, my confidence grew. They would put me in a game, and I wasn’t nervous at all. I was so prepared and ready to play.”
In addition to becoming a varsity player, Brooke entered her senior season as one of East Haven’s captains alongside fellow senior Taylor Salato and Erin Curran. Brooke felt honored to wear the captain’s hat, especially since she knows that it’s a title that has to be earned. As a captain, Brooke wanted to set a great example by always being there for her teammates in any situation.
“Earning that role honestly meant so much. It’s not something that is just given out. It’s for people who are genuinely role models,” Brooke says. “The team is everything. Win or lose, your teammates at the end of the day is your family. Being able to see them do great things just made me happy. Being able to call them my teammates was amazing. Not only was I succeeding, but so were they.”
When she graduates from East Haven, Brooke plans to attend Western Connecticut State University to pursue a career in social work. While she isn’t going to play basketball in college, Brooke still plans on being around the game by attending as many of East Haven’s games as she can.
From shooting hoops with her sister in the driveway to being named a captain for the Yellowjackets, Brooke has seen a good portion of her life unfold on the basketball court. As she completes her time with the Easties, Brooke feels proud to call herself a basketball player and says the sport has helped her grow just as much as a person as it has as an athlete.
“Once you’re on the court, all the stress goes away. It’s just you and the basket. It’s a stress reliever,” says Brooke. “It helps build your character. It’s fun to play, and every year I just kept coming back. I couldn’t see myself not being involved in it.”