The 6-foot-1 sophomore forward was voted the Most Valuable Player of the Athletic Association of Catholic Academies (AACA). She is averaging 14.7 points per game and 9.5 rebounds per contest for the Hurricanes, who have advanced to the PIAA 5A District 1 finals (to be played March 3). “Paige has shown real growth this year both physically and emotionally,” said Villa Maria head coach Kathy McCartney. “She has readily accepted her role as one of our ‘go to’ players and she never shies away from a challenge. She really a pleasure to coach and I look forward to watching her mature over the next two years.”
Q: What do you feel has been the biggest key to your productive scoring this season?
A: My ability to get past defenders and drive to the basket has definitely been a key in my game this year. I have learned new ways to finish and I can score in traffic. I have also developed more of an inside game this year and become a very good offensive rebounder.
Q: What do you feel is currently the strongest aspect of your game? What are you working on most at the current time?
A: I have always been a good defensive player and love to run up and down the court and score in transition. I think my height and wingspan certainly helps me with that. I can also get to the rim easily and score. I’m currently working on getting stronger, which I think will definitely help me in the future.
Q: What was your first reaction when you found out you were voted the MVP of the AACA? What does this award mean to you?
A: When I was awarded MVP of the AACA I was initially shocked because I am only a sophomore. There are a lot of really talented players in the league and it’s really an honor to be chosen.
Q: What in your opinion is the biggest key to being a standout rebounder?
A: Rebounding is one of my favorite parts of the game. For whatever reason, I’ve always love to jump and I’ve realized that’s the key to rebounding. You can’t wait for the ball to come to you. Although rebounding is often overlooked, I think it’s the most important part of the game.
Q: Who have been your most important basketball mentors, and what was the most important thing you learned from each of them?
A: One of my first AAU coaches, Katie Gardler, really focused on fundamentals. She was a tough coach that encouraged me to use my talent and become more confident in my abilities. Jonathan Guarente coaches me in the off season and helps me fine tune the basic components of my game. Kathy McCartney has taught me so much during the past two years at Villa. She helped me take my game to next level and realize my passion for basketball. Finally, my parents have always supported me in my sports endeavors, especially my dad who is always out in the driveway helping me practice.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your basketball training during the past off-season – what you did to improve?
A: I played up for the Comets 10th grade team this past spring and learned a lot from my coaches Linda Genther and Matt Githens. Unfortunately, I got a concussion playing AAU in early June that kept me off the courts until the end of October. Towards the end of the summer I was able to do light drills such as working on shooting, dribbling, and finishing but I wasn’t able to go as hard as I would have liked. When I started playing again after being out for five months, I was driven to work even harder and get myself back to the game as quickly as possible.
Q: You wear No. 34 for Villa Maria – is there a reason you picked this number? Does it hold special significance to you?
A: I chose No. 34, because my usual No. 33, was already taken by an upperclassman. Now, I like No. 34 better and plan to stick with it in the future.
Q: What do you think you might want to major in at college? Is there a career path that particularly interests you at the present time?
A: At the moment, I have an interest in the medical field and I am leaning towards Sports Medicine. I would love to pursue a career helping injured athletes get back to their games.
Q: What extracurricular activities are you involved with at Villa Maria other than basketball? What sparked your interest in these particular activities?
A: I play tennis in the fall which is great preseason training. All the cardio and footwork gets me in great shape for the basketball season.
Fun facts – Paige Lauder
Favorite TV show: Grey’s Anatomy.
Favorite athlete: Carson Wentz.
Favorite basketball player: Steph Curry.
Favorite pre-game pump-up song: “In the locker room before every game, our team has speaker with disco lights and we blast ‘Dreams and Nightmares.'”
Favorite team: Philadelphia Eagles.
Favorite place to visit: Park City, Utah.
Favorite pre-game meal: Cliff bar and gummy bears.
Favorite color: Blue.
Family members: parents Gwyn and Alan, older brother Casey, younger brother Tyler.
(To be selected as Main Line Girls Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by her coach.)