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Norwood - Local Town Pages

Wladkowski Taking her Basketball Talents to Endicott

By Christopher Tremblay

Trish Wladkowski has been playing basketball as long as she can remember. It all started with Norwood youth basketball, and if she wasn’t on the court with her team, she could be found in the backyard shooting hoops with her brothers Robbie and Jay. Although she also enjoys playing goalie on the soccer field, basketball is her go-to sport.

“It’s such a team-oriented sport that feeds off your teammates,” Wladkoski said. “I’ll play any position but point guard, it never fit with me. I’d prefer the forward positions, probably because of my size (Wladkowski is 5’10”); besides, I have the best point guard in Lauren Reen.”

The senior forward has been playing with Reen since the duo were four years old. Who wouldn’t want to play with Reen, who sends her friend the ball down low where she gets to enjoy the physical aspect of the game.

Having joined Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball at an early age (fifth grade), Wladkowski had gotten to play the sport she loves with a lot of different players from different towns and states. The talent she gets to play against on the AAU stage has given her the ability to step up her game. 

Heading into high school, Wladkowski was just hoping to have a good tryout while doing her best to impress the Norwood coaches. Obviously, she did enough to earn herself a position on the varsity squad. Unfortunately, she didn’t get to play all that many games due to Covid that season.

“It was definitely a weird experience,” Wladkowski said. “I didn’t get to play a lot of games and we had to wear masks and there was no one in the crowd. On the bright side, I did get more playing time than I had expected, which was awesome, but being named to the Tri-Valley League All-Star Team was something that I did not expect.”

Being a TVL All-Star is something that Wladkowski would do each of her first three years on the court with the Mustangs. 

It was prior to her sophomore season when Wladkowski realized that she was going to need to up her game, especially if she wanted to play on the collegiate level. The now senior has committed to play basketball at Endicott College in Beverly when her Norwood playing days are over. 

“My brother Robbie plays baseball there, so I have been there a bunch of times and started talking to the coach,” Wladkowski said. “It’s a surreal process and the entire team and coaching staff are awesome and can’t wait to begin my journey there.”

During her junior campaign, Wladkowski found herself as more of a shooter, something that she was unaccustomed to doing. 

“It was very different as I had never been much of a shooter, never mind an outside shooter,” Wladkkowski said. “I am thankful that Coach (Kristen) McDonnell brought my game to an entirely new level. I can now catch and shoot the ball; as a freshman I never imagined this would be a possibility.”

Originally, it was a tough adjustment for Wladkowski, but her coach had faith in her ability.

“Trish is a great leader and last year she took on a very different role for us,” the Norwood coach said. “She was a complementary player, but we asked her to step up and take the shots while becoming a focal part of our offense. This year, it should be much more of a natural thing. I know that she wants to share the ball and get everyone involved, but I’m looking for her to take those shots instead.”

McDonnell went on to say that Wladkowski does it all for the Mustangs; bringing the ball up court, while hitting those big threes, to battling down low with the bigs. She often finds herself undersized but will play a tough and gritty game. 

As a junior, Wladkowski averaged 13.5 points per game while being the team’s leading rebounder with an impressive 9 a game, and adding 3.5 steals a game as a forward.

“Defense is one of the most important parts of the game and Coach McDonnell focus’ on that,” Wladkowski said. “The whole team is relentless when it comes to defense. We’re taught, see the ball, go for the ball. If I can do my part (steals) then it’s all good for the team.”

Wladkowski is hoping that the team can have an all-around year where they win the TVL and then make another deep run through the Division 2 State Tournament. During her sophomore campaign with the Mustangs under then coach Amy Quinn, they were the number one seed going into the tournament. Norwood won all four of its games to the State Championship Final by an average of 14 points. Unfortunately, they were upset by Oliver Ames in the title match.

“We may have lost the championship game that year, but it was the best experience ever,” Wladkowski said. “I’m hoping that we can get back there again this year; we have a great group of girls, so it’s entirely possible.”