Mohawk High’s Erynne Capalbo has been an offensive threat for the girls basketball team and has led in scoring for each game played last week.
On Monday, the Lady Warriors came up short against Union, 58-49. Capalbo dished out 19 points.
Mohawk then defeated Shenango, 43-42, on Wednesday and Sharpsville the next night, 53-41.
“That was pretty exciting for us,” Capalbo said of the win over Shenango. “Off of the kind of devastating loss to Union the same week. We were really hoping to bounce back and I think it boosted our confidence. I couldn’t have scored without my teammates giving me the ball. I don’t drive to the hoop very often. Mainly Alexa (Kadilak), she does a god job of getting to the net.”
Capalbo paced the Lady Warriors in the game against Shenango and Sharpsville with 26 and 32 points, respectively.
“I think Erynne, with her skillset, she’s very special,” Mohawk coach Ron Moncrief said. “She can play inside or on the perimeter as well. That’s what makes her special and unique as a basketball player. She can use her guard skills as well.”
For her efforts, Capalbo was named Lawrence County Athlete of the Week as voted on by the New Castle News sports staff.
A daughter of Stefanie and James Capalbo, the junior has been playing basketball since kindergarten and cited her parents as who got her into playing the game.
“Since kindergarten, I’ve been going to basketball camp,” she said. “My mom, she played for New Castle.”
Stefanie’s maiden name was Guy.
Capalbo commented on what strengths the Lady Warriors have this season and what needs improved.
“We have Aricka Young playing defense for us and that’s a big strength for us. She’s everywhere. Really all of our team, we’re good together. We gelled really good this year. We can all score on any night,” Capalbo said. “There’s a lot of things we still need to work on. We just need to work on a lot of things still but we’ll get there.”
Capalbo credited Kevin Wrona, a Mohawk boys basketball assistant coach, as a big help in boosting her confidence this season.
Another person Capalbo credits to helping her confidence on the hardwood was John Vlasic.
“A couple years ago, I had no confidence and I found a trainer, John Vlasic, and he’s really helped me improve; being able to score anywhere on the court,” Capalbo said. “I went to a tryout to play for his AAU team and that was that. He’s been a great trainer ever since seventh grade.”
The junior starter said the team dynamic of the Lady Warriors is good and that they participate in team dinners and even had a secret Santa gift exchange.
“Being a starter and a leader — she’s more of a quiet leader,” Moncrief said. “She leads by example and works hard. She leads by example; she lets her game do the talking and that’s what is most important. Especially when we need a big play, she’s capable of stepping up and making a big play for our team.”
Capalbo’s height is another advantage on the hardwood and sometimes she gets targeted but that doesn’t bother her much.
“I like the challenge. I watch a lot of film and I try to see what they do against others and stuff like that,” Capalbo said. “When we played Union, I watched the Union/Laurel game to see how they guarded Kelly (Cleaver). Stuff like that.”
Capalbo’s goal is to play basketball at the collegiate level. She currently is undecided on a school.
“She can play the one through the five positions. She can play any position on the court with her height and skillset,” Moncrief said. “That’s what makes her a great player at the high school level and she’ll be a great player at the college level as well. With her height and skillset...it’s very special.”
Capalbo praised Moncrief.
“He’s been great for us,” she said. “It was a real big change going from coach (Mike) O’Lare to coach Ron but I think we adjusted pretty good.”
Capalbo has been playing basketball with her fellow juniors since the third grade.
“No one’s really joined us,” Capalbo said on the juniors. “We’ve all been togeter and its been great. We’ve played really well together since the third grade.”
Moncrief believes the sky’s the limit for Capalbo.
“The sky’s the limit with her with her skillset. I know I said that a number of times but not everyone has that ability,” Moncrief said. With her, we don’t want to limit her to one spot and put her down low because she’s tall. She works hard at her perimeter skills and showcases that for her as well. As far as Erynne and the rest of the girls, we use basketball to teach life lessons. The basketball court’s our classroom and we use that to teach life lessons.
“She’s a good kid. She’s fun to be around and very coachable. She’s more of a quiet person but when she gets on the court she lets her game do the talking. She goes along with her business and is a very nice person to be around; good teammate.”
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