BY SOPHIE GAER
Freshman point guard Bella LaChance helped the 2016-17 girls varsity basketball team end its season 17-5, as she averaged 20 points per game. According to Head Coach Coach Oliver Berens, LaChance’s crucial numbers impacted the team’s performance throughout the season.
“She is averaging 20 points per game, which arguably is tops in all of South Florida,” Coach Berens said. “What is even more impressive is she is doing that while being an incredible distributor and setting a great tempo to get the ball moving offensively.”
Ever since LaChance was younger, she participated in a variety of athletic activities.
“She had been playing flag football and soccer and doing taekwondo as a child,” Bella’s mother Joelle Sebregandio said. “A lot of her friends started playing recreational basketball, and ever since then she has connected with the sport.”
As a freshman, LaChance already has an offer to play basketball at Fordham University.
“I am so honored and grateful to have an offer from a D1 college as a freshman,” she said. “It is one of the things I think about daily that allows me to push harder and train longer.”
Coach Berens said he is amazed with LaChance’s talent and success, as she is such a young player.
“Bella has a great future ahead of her for the Lightning, and there is no doubt that we will see her playing Division 1 basketball in college,” he said. “She already has been offered a scholarship, which again is just remarkable for a kid her age.”
The 5’4’ point guard said she does not get discouraged from being smaller than other players.
“I try to use my height to my advantage,” LaChance said. “I focus on ball handling and quick reflexes to get around the bigger players. Being smaller will never get in my way.”
LaChance is constantly training and practicing to be able to play to the best of her abilities.
“When Bella does not have practice at high school, she trains with her trainer at least two days a week, so that she is practicing every day of the week,” Mrs. Sebregandio said. “Bella goes outside every day and puts up her 200 shots, even after long practices. She is such a hard worker, and we are so proud of everything she has accomplished.”
Not only does LaChance succeed on the court, but off the court as well. She has maintained straight A’s in school and has made All-Tournament teams and MVP.
“Bella is an incredible student and is consistently engaged,” math teacher Spencer Fisher said. “She is as gifted academically as she is athletically, and she takes full advantage of both of those gifts.”
According to her mother, doing well in school and getting her work done is just as important as her success on the court.
“Academics come first before anything, and that is a definite,” Mrs. Sebregandio said. “We insist that she keep her grades up.”
Because basketball is a full-time commitment for LaChance, she said learning to balance athletics and academics was a challenge.
“I always wanted to be on the court, so high school was quite an adjustment,” LaChance said. “There are many nights I have to stay up until 1 a.m. to get everything done.”