It’s been a grand kind of year for Caitlin Drakeley, the only senior and captain of the Chief’s Varsity Girls Basketball team.
Drakeley became the third girl in the history of Nonnewaug High School girls' basketball to score 1,000 points in her career this January, in an away game versus Litchfield.
"It felt really good and was a nice accomplishment to have achieved," said a modest Drakeley, who has been on a court, any court she could find, dribbling a basketball since she began Biddy Ball in kindergarten.
The 1,000 point-earning game was in the first few minutes against Litchfield on January 20, 2012, and, following the milestone basket, the game stopped and Drakeley was recognized for her accomplishment. She received hoots and hollers and hugs from teammates and fans and was given the game ball as a token. She presented the game ball to her father.
"It is quite an accomplishment," said Coach John Somero, NHS girls’ basketball coach for the past 12 years. "In more than 70 years, only three girls have ever done this. It’s very impressive."
The other female hoopsters to achieve the 1,000-point honor are Anna Baldwin in 2007 and Debbie Sperry in 1984.
Somero said Drakeley, a point guard, worked hard in the four years she has been a varsity player and while the 1,000-point milestone was something she had to earn herself, she deserves the honor.
"It came along because she is a good player and worked hard," he said.
Somero prides Drakeley on the fact that she is all business when it comes to basketball and something as big as earning this milestone didn’t deter from playing to the best of her ability during the remainder of the game. The Chiefs won the game against Litchfield.
Drakeley joined the Chief’s varsity team as a freshman, something Somero said likely contributed to her 1,000-point feat since many lower school players begin on junior varsity.
"Basketball is her true love," said Somero, who knew Drakeley as a fourth grader and picked her when he coached the 4th grade travel team. "She is a great athlete and has a lot of physical talent. But she is the one who has done everything she can to bring it out."
In addition to basketball, Drakeley was a member and captain of the varsity field hockey team and will be a senior captain on girl’s softball in the spring. She is in the top 10 percent in her senior class at Nonnewaug, where she receives highest honors academically.
Drakeley was also chosen as the female Scholar Athlete of the Year from NHS and will receive her award by the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference in May at the banquet at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington. Drakeley was part of the Amateur Athletic Union travel basketball team for the past five years, where she played in addition to her school team.
"She leads through her actions and commitment," said her mother, Chris Drakeley, who adds that her daughter is humble and shies away from the limelight. "She is a quiet leader and sets an example of what it means to be part of a team. She helps bring that out in her teammates."
Off the court and the field, Drakeley busies herself helping out with community fundraisers for organizations like the Community Services Council, helping serve the Thanksgiving turkey dinner in town or refereeing for Unified Sports events.
"She helps out with dinners, events and tag sales," her mother said. "She is a workhorse. She gives back whenever she can."
Her future is looking bright too. Drakeley was recruited by Vassar College -- her first choice and an early decision acceptance -- and will play for the Brewers, a Division 3 athletic college, and likely major in math in the fall.
"I can’t wait," she said. "I am so excited. It’s fantastic academically and athletically. There are a lot of talented players and I am excited the level of competition."