The winners have been selected! Fifteen of your neighbors in the community will be honored with a Beacon Award on Nov. 17 at WoodWinds. Join the celebration.
Sports Person of the Week
Curran Was Always on Point for the Easties
Erin Curran led the East Haven girls’ basketball team as both a senior captain and a point guard this winter, earning All-SCC East Division accolades for her performance. (Photo courtesy of Erin Curran)
Erin Curran helped the East Haven girls’ basketball team win a Class M state title during her freshman year of high school. After contributing to that major moment in Yellowjackets’ history, Erin continued improving as a basketball player and ultimately earned All-SCC honors as a senior captain in the 2021 season.
Erin had a basketball in her hands from the time that she could walk. She started playing in East Haven’s clinics at age five and learned a lot about the sport from her father Tim.
“When I was a kid, I was very energetic, and I always wanted to be active. My dad is super into sports, so I started with him,” says Erin. “We would go outside every day. We had a mini hoop that I had on my bedroom door we would play on. We would watch on the TV and play basketball video games. We were always playing and watching.”
Erin continued playing in East Haven’s recreational league until the 8th grade. Along the way, she joined East Haven’s travel league in 4th grade and started playing AAU two years later. By competing for so many different teams, Erin had the opportunity to travel to various parts of New England, while gaining a great deal of basketball knowledge from her teammates and coaches.
Erin also tried out soccer and swimming while growing up, but neither of those sports compared to how much she loved basketball. By the time she reached middle school, Erin knew that wanted to compete for the Yellowjackets in high school.
“Basketball was always my favorite. It’s what I had the most passion for,” Erin says. “When I was in middle school and everyone was asking me about sports in high school, it was always basketball. Basketball was just what I wanted to do.”
Erin spent her freshman season splitting time between East Haven’s JV and varsity teams. That year, the Easties earned a 49-47 victory versus Career in the final of the Class M State Tournament. Erin says that being part of that championship squad showed her what it takes to succeed on the court and shaped the rest of her career with East Haven.
“We won the state championship my freshman year. When I came on to the team, we were just stacked with talent,” says Erin. “The speed of the game was so much different and everyone was bigger and stronger. It was intimidating, but it helped me seeing what being at such a high level was like and winning so much. It motivated me to want to get to that point every season.”
Erin became East Haven’s starting varsity point guard in her sophomore year. She had grown up playing point guard and always loved that position. Erin felt comfortable with running the point when her number was called as a sophomore.
“Playing at the varsity level and being able to contribute firsthand was exciting. It was great to get out there and show everybody what I could do,” Erin says. “I naturally went to the guard position. My favorite part about basketball is dribbling and shooting. Seeing a great assist or combo dribble move is the most impressive. I naturally went toward those things.”
Head Coach Anthony Russell saw Erin’s potential during her first year at East Haven. As the years went on, Russell saw his point guard make big strides as both a player and a leader. Coach Russell says that Erin served as a constant role model for the team’s young athletes as a result of her impressive work ethic on and off the court.
“Erin is such a great player. She is smart, athletic, and her work ethic in practice was a model for our younger players,” says Russell. “She was such a great competitor for us over the years and one of the main reasons we have had continued success. We will miss her next year.”
Erin’s junior season came to an abrupt end due to the COVID-19 pandemic as East Haven was preparing to play in the quarterfinals of the Class MM State Tournament. When the Yellowjackets returned to action for her senior year, Erin continued playing point guard and did so with newfound confidence.
While she may have been a bit intimidated entering the program as a freshman, Erin felt much more self-assured by the time she was a senior. At the end of the season, Erin was selected as a member of the All-SCC East Division Team.
“When I was a freshman, I wasn’t too sure of myself. It was intimidating to come on to a team with such great players,” Erin says. “Coach Russell was on me and he pushed me out of my comfort zone. He helped me break out of my shell and become more confident. As a point guard, you need to be a leader. It was difficult in the moment, but in the long run, it helped me achieve my fullest potential.”
Erin was also named one of East Haven’s senior captains this year and felt honored to receive that distinction. As the Yellowjackets dealt with various protocols, Erin enjoyed the opportunity to lead the team.
“It really meant so much to me. I really took it to heart because of how hard the circumstances of this season were. Everybody kind of had a chip on their shoulder. Everybody wanted to do as best as we could,” says Erin, who was also a captain for the girls’ cross country squad. “We were in a vulnerable place when the season started, and I wanted to bring everybody together and make the message not taking anything for granted and coming together as a family.”
After Erin graduates from East Haven, she is going to attend UConn to major in psychology. She is also planning to continue playing basketball at either the club or intramural level at the school.
A lifelong basketball player, Erin says that participating in the sport has helped define who she is as a person. The most special part for Erin are the relationships that she’s created with her fellow basketball players in East Haven.
“Being a basketball player has been my identity growing up. It means so much to me. I think basketball is the greatest sport,” Erin says. “The family mentality of being on a team and working together, everything about it I just love. It meant so much to me to compete and work with my teammates. It was really special for me to play with them and win with them.”