Girls’ Basketball Player of the Season: Bishop Brady’s Ami Rivera

  • Bishop Brady sophomore Ami Rivera dribbles the ball against Bow during the Capital Area Holiday Tournament in December. Rivera has been named ‘Monitor’ Girls’ Basketball Player of the Season. Nolan McGurn file / For the Monitor

  • Bishop Brady's Ami Rivera lays in a bucket on Tuesday during Bishop Brady's first-round victory in the Division II girls' basketball tournament in Concord. Jason Orfao / Monitor staff

  • Bishop Brady's Ami Rivera (32) shoots the ball during Friday's Capital Area Holiday Tournament girls' basketball championship game at NHTI in Concord, Dec. 29, 2017. Bishop Brady defeated Merrimack Valley, 49-39. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz

  • Bishop Brady’s Ami Rivera (left) blocks a shot in 2017. This season, she was named ‘Monitor’ Girls’ Basketball Player of the Season. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor file

Monitor staff
Published: 3/19/2019 7:26:28 PM

Spend enough time around the Bishop Brady girls’ basketball team and it’s not hard to see why head coach Annie Alosa often calls her star guard a gamer.

It didn’t matter if the Giants were in desperate need of a late-game bucket, in search of a fast start off the opening tip or just needed someone to score to break up a stagnant stretch of play. The ball was always in the hands of sophomore Ami Rivera.

A gamer indeed. But what does that mean to Alosa?

“I think it’s unique in every kid. I think it looks different in every kid. I think in Ami it’s just a presence. I always say it’s in your eyes and I think with her, it’s as clear as can be,” Alosa said. “She steps out there and just has her eye on the prize and she wants to be competitive and in your face all the time.”

Rivera, a Division II All-State First Team selection and the Monitor Girls’ Basketball Player of the Season, enjoyed a breakout campaign in her second varsity season under Alosa.

Transitioning from the bench to a starting role, Rivera led the Giants to a 16-4 record and the No. 4 seed in the D-II tournament. She averaged 18 points, nine rebounds and little more than four assists per game while flashing her defensive prowess by notching 2.5 steals per contest.

Rivera not only helped Brady finish the regular season on a nine-game winning streak, but also led the charge during the team’s 84-52 first-round victory over No. 13 Sanborn and scored a game-high 24 points in a 71-56 quarterfinal loss to No. 5 John Stark.

“She just loves to play and that’s all she’s doing,” Alosa said. “I think this year she gradually learned how impactful her play is, but for so long she’s just done it.  She just said, ‘I’m going to work the hardest and be a good leader for my teammates.’ Even if it wasn’t vocal, it was always by effort, by energy and her play.”

While humble and reserved off the court, the vocal part of Rivera’s leadership really started to come through this past season.

When Brady lost a couple of key starters to graduation last year, including starting point guard Sarah Doherty as well as leading scorer Sam Will, who’s now playing at Division I Cornell, Alosa knew her lineup would need an adjustment.

Alosa needed a new guard to run the offense. But she also needed someone to lead such a young roster. Rivera filled both roles.

“Before her sophomore year I told her she really had to step up leadership-wise vocally,” Alosa said. “She’s a really, really smart kid. She’s truly a gamer and she has a lot of insight, especially in game situations. I just wanted to hear her voice, both as a coach and I feel the team needed to hear her voice more this year.”

With Rivera handling the ball in a fast-paced offense featuring plenty of shooters and effective floor spacing, the Giants never looked like a team recovering from the loss of so many impact seniors.

And every bit of Rivera’s gamer mentality seemed to rub off on the rest of the Giants.

“If you ask any of her teammates, she’s always the number one player they want to play next to,” Alosa said. “And it’s because of her passion. It’s because of her drive and just her willingness to compete from whistle to whistle.”

(Jay McAree can be reached at 369-3371, or on Twitter @JayMcAree.)

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