Sports Person of the Week
Thompson Enjoys Fantastic Freshman Campaign
Lauren Thompson had a great freshman season for the Branford girls’ basketball team, earning All-SCC East Division accolades on behalf of the Hornets. (Photo courtesy of Lauren Thompson )
It didn’t take long for Lauren Thompson to make an impact on the Branford girls’ basketball squad. In her first season with the Hornets, Lauren began the campaign as a varsity starter and finished it as a member of the All-SCC East Division Team.
Lauren has been playing basketball since she was a child, spending many hours shooting hoops on the court in her backyard. Oftentimes, Lauren would play against her older brothers Michael and Matt, as well as numerous male cousins. Lauren says that taking on her relatives taught her how to deal with stiff competition as her love of the sport flourished.
“It would be difficult, because I was a lot smaller, but it really helped a lot with my game. I learned so much,” says Lauren. “I learned how to use my body in a game. I got better by playing against older boys and just bigger people. I learned new things, and my love for the sport formed.”
Lauren joined her first team at the age of seven, playing in Branford’s recreational league. From 4th to 6th grade, Lauren competed in rec, the Branford travel program, and also at Walsh Intermediate School. In 7th and 8th grade, Lauren played in East Haven’s rec and travel leagues, as well as at Walsh. All of Lauren’s experience during this period had an immense effect on her progression as a basketball player.
“People say that in order to get better, you have to push yourself and practice so much. There’s absolutely no lie in that. It’s what it actually takes,” Lauren says. “Repeatedly playing anywhere at any time really helps you. It gets you better at the game and impacts you so much.”
In 8th grade, Lauren played on the Branford High School summer and fall league teams. Lauren formed strong chemistry with her teammates and, when it came time to play games, everyone felt comfortable with each other on the court.
Once the time came for Lauren to join the Hornets, she hit the ground running and immediately earned a starting spot in the varsity lineup as a guard. Playing varsity as a freshman was a difficult at times, but Lauren found that her prior experience of going up against older competition helped make the transition a little easier.
“It was challenging, but I think it was really good for me. It teaches me how to play real basketball,” Lauren says. “It was unexpected for me at first, but I got used to it. In the fall and summer league, I was 14 playing against some girls who were 18. I got to know the coach and the varsity players. It was a big step.”
Lauren made a huge contribution on the offensive end of the floor for Branford as a freshman. Head Coach Rob Manghnani says that even when other teams realized how good Lauren was and started paying more attention to her, the freshman guard was still able to find ways to score.
“Lauren brought passion and an unrelenting work ethic, constantly looking for ways to improve in all aspects of her game,” says Manghnani. “Right from the get-go, she made strong contributions offensively, which never stopped throughout the season, despite being a focal point to opposing defenses. She became a better all-around player as the season went on, and she will be a force to be reckoned with next year and the years to come.”
Lauren’s performance earned her a spot on the All-SCC East Division Team for the winter season. Lauren was both honored and surprised when she found out that she had received that distinction.
“It was very unexpected. I worked so hard, and I was hoping I would get it. When I realized I really got it, I was shocked,” Lauren says. “I’m so thankful for my team, coaches, and family for supporting me all the time. It just pushes me to work even harder.”
Aside from basketball, Lauren is also a member of the Branford field hockey team. Lauren has been playing field hockey since 6th grade and feels that her experience in that sport helps her with her footwork on the basketball court, along with her overall endurance as an athlete.
Whether she’s playing in her backyard or on the varsity floor, Lauren loves everything about basketball and thinks about the game every day. As she continues her high school career, Lauren is looking forward to helping the Hornets claim more victories in a sport that’s become a true passion for her.
“I take pride in it. I’m really happy with myself,” says Lauren. “Obviously, there are ups and downs, but I’ve never had the idea of quitting. It just motivates me to get better. I’m so passionate about the sport.”