You don’t see a lot of players like Priscilla Dunphy.
LaSalle Academy girls’ basketball coach Sean Reddy said the Barrington native is a rare, four year-starter at the school and among the best he’s ever coached.
“She’s the most complete player I’ve ever coached,” he said.
“She’s the complete package. You don’t get too many Priscilla Dunphys in your coaching career.”
This week, Priscilla, who scored her 1,000th point this season, joins her team in the state Division I girls’ basketball tournament as LaSalle looks for a third consecutive state title.
While another tourney win would certainly be an exclamation mark on Priscilla’s high school basketball career, it would only be the latest achievement in what has been an impressive varsity run.
As a freshman, Priscilla was named player of the game for the state championship. She was named the state tournament MVP one year later along with second team all-division and third team all-class nods. Last year, she was named to the state’s all-tournament team and first team all-state.
Then there was the game at home against Westerly earlier this season, when she took the floor with 997 career points. While she knew heading into this year she might have a shot at the magical 1,000 point career mark, Priscilla didn’t realize how close she was until Reddy pointed it out at a practice.
“I’ve never been too concerned about how many points I score,” said the shooting guard who transitioned from a low post player early in her high school career.
“Then one day at practice my coach said ‘You’re at 77. You need 77 more.’ That’s when I started counting down.”
Reddy said the play where she scored her 1,000th point was “typical” Dunphy, a catch and shoot three-pointer that hit nothing but net.
“It was an exhilarating moment for everyone in the program,” Reddy said.
The crowd — filled with family, classmates, fans and friends — went wild. The game stopped and Reddy handed Priscilla a bouquet of flowers before she made her way into the stands to see her parents.
“[They’ve] always been my biggest fans,” she said. “I felt so lucky to have so many people cheering for me.”
Priscilla began playing basketball in the second grade, and though she preferred soccer more through her middle school years, that changed when she moved to LaSalle.
The heightened level of competition at the varsity level and her new coach drove her to make basketball her passion.
“It was more of a challenge. I like challenges,” Priscilla said.
One of the biggest challenges for Priscilla was moving to the back-court. She didn’t shoot much in middle school and Priscilla realized her jumper needed work.
The summer before her sophomore year, Priscilla made a habit of shooting every day at the outdoor middle school basketball courts. She did the same thing one year later and last summer.
Despite her individual accomplishments, however, Priscilla is a team player. Both she and Reddy said LaSalle is a team first group and during an interview for this story, Priscilla repeatedly heaped praised upon the squad as a whole.
“I couldn’t have better teammates,” she said.
“We have a ton of great players on our team who could score just as much.”
Reddy said Priscilla is a “terrific lady” who leads by example.
“She gets to practice early and stays late and always works hard,” he said. “She’s been the foundation of the program these last three years. She really has been one of those foundation kids you can build your program around.”
Next year, Priscilla will head to the University of Massachusetts Lowell to study engineering. She will also play basketball after accepting a full scholarship earlier this year.
Reddy said Priscilla will be a “fantastic” collegiate player.
“She’s going to get better coaching and she will be able to be in the gym year-round, playing with better players. She’s going to a great program,” Reddy said. “It’s a high-scoring, high-tempo offense. They like to shoot early and often and Priscilla is as good as shooter as there is. She’s going to excel there and it’s a great engineering school. It’s a win for Priscilla and a win for the school to get her.”