Wright goes left often, leads Episcopal past Notre Dame

RADNOR  >> Reilly Wright laughed at the question about her penchant for driving to the basket.

Ever since she was a youngster, Wright has had a knack for taking the ball to the rack. Maybe it’s a habit she picked up while practicing with her dad, Villanova head coach Jay Wright.

“He always made me work on my left hand, going to my left more, and I still do that a lot today,” Wright said. “Ever since I was a kid, I just loved to drive.”

Wright, a senior at Episcopal Academy, has seen her scoring average spike this season. As the team’s starting point guard, she is more assertive with the ball in her hands.

Episcopal Academy’s (10) Reilly Wright puts a shot up past Notre Dame’s (42) Riley Shaak in the first quarter of their match-up at the Aimee Willard Gymnasium Tuesday. Wright poured in a game-high 19 points to lead Episcopal to a 53-28 victory.

In previous years, Wright was a complementary player who excelled on defense. She has worked diligently to enhance her all-around game, developing from a defensive-minded threat to a complete package.

In Tuesday’s Inter-Ac League game against Notre Dame, Wright scored a game-high 19 points to lead Episcopal to a 53-28 victory. Three of her six field goals came via a drive and layup. Wright led all players with five assists to go with three rebounds, two blocks and one steal.

“It was a total team win and it started with our defense. That translated into our offense, and I think we just all came together,” Wright said. “Everyone contributed in their own way, and that was great to see. Nobody really had to take over by themselves and it was definitely the best game that we’ve played all season.”

Wright scored seven points in both the first and third quarters. She made a buzzer-beater from beyond the arc to end the first quarter, then hit another 3-pointer as time ticked down in the third.

Wright was cognizant of her role coming into the season and determined to become a go-to player for the Churchwomen. She hasn’t disappointed. After Tuesday, Wright is averaging 8.7 points per game and has seven double-digit performances on her ledger.

Her 19 points against the Irish marks a career high.

“Losing the seniors that we had last year, including our main guards, I knew that as a point guard I would have to come in and do a little scoring,” Wright said. “I definitely think that starting out on defense, and turning my defense into offense, was something I worked on and the points just come. My teammates getting me the ball, they do a great job at that.”

Churchwomen coach Chuck Simmonds is proud of Wright’s overall development and said it was a matter of finding her comfort zone on the court.

“She’s always been a kid who could make shots,” Simmonds said. “But, yeah, it has to do with asserting herself more. She’s getting to the rim a lot, which is great to see, and I think she’s learning how to manage the game.”

Wright has leaned on the lessons from her dad and has applied them to every game and practice. Being Jay Wright’s daughter certainly has its benefits. Her dad taught her that being a team leader takes precedence over individual accomplishments.

“It’s not all about me or one individual on the court, it’s about the team,” she said. “You can’t just win the game on your own, you’ve got to have five

PETE BANNAN-DIGITAL FIRST MEDIA Episcopal Academy’s Elodie Furey goes to the basket in Tuesday’s win over Notre Dame.

people on the court who are all-in for the team. That’s definitely one of the main things he’s taught me, and also, just giving 100 percent every minute on the court. Not just on offense, but on defense, too. That’s probably the most important part of the game.”

Before she enrolls at the University of Pennsylvania, Wright’s intention is to become an Inter-Ac League and Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association champion.

“Me and Elodie (Furey), being the seniors, we would really love to get the championship,” Wright said. “We came really close our sophomore year, but we lost on a last-second play to (Germantown Academy). We’ve been hungry ever since. We want to go with a bang, to do it for the team and for the coaches. We’re really locked-in and we’re ready to go out strong.”

Casey Walsh and Jill Kane scored seven points each to lead Notre Dame (11-9, 5-4). For Episcopal, junior guard Luca Mamula had 14 points, six steals, three rebounds, a steal and a block. And Cornell-bound senior forward Elodie Furey added five points and a game-high six rebounds.

“Our past few games, we’ve only had one person as the main scorer and the rest of us have had trouble following it. But this game, I feel like we all stepped up in our roles,” Furey said. “We were really focused on offense and defense. We’re getting more up on player defensively and making sure we’re closing the lanes. We did a lot of that today.”

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