Rosenthal’s dedication helps lead team

Shauna Perigo

Ariella Rosenthal, a varsity basketball captain, still remembers a tough loss against Justin-Siena last year right before playoffs. According to Rosenthal, the game burns in her mind and motivates her to beat the team’s biggest competitor in her final high school season.

Senior Ariella Rosenthal takes a free throw at the game against Tam.
Senior Ariella Rosenthal takes a free throw at the game against Tam.

“We were winning by three, and then they hit a three buzzer beater and they tied it, and then we lost in overtime,” Rosenthal said. “We lost to them this year by seven our first game. We are so excited to play them at Game Night, January 31st, in front of everyone at home. We just can’t wait to beat them.”

That game, coupled with a one-point loss to Marin Catholic in last year’s semi-finals, gives Rosenthal the drive to win every game this year and prove that her team deserves the pennant.

“That’s our biggest goal right now— to beat every single team that we play and just come back with vengeance,” Rosenthal said.

Rosenthal has scored over double digits in every game except one this season, with an average of 15.7 points per game as of press time. This season, Rosenthal has scored a total of 314 points for her team in eighteen games and is ranked 4th in the league.

Rosenthal said she was hooked on basketball when she tried it in third grade because of its fast-paced nature.

“I have two older brothers and I wanted an aggressive sport because they were always so aggressive with me, and so I think basketball was that for me,” Rosenthal said. “I was able to be aggressive. I’m such a competitive person, and it’s such a competitive sport.”

Rosenthal’s passion for basketball has driven her to play the sport year-round, even during her high school lacrosse season.

“Even when I play school lacrosse, I’m playing AAU basketball, so after games or after practice I’ll rush to basketball practice, which gets tiring, but I love it, so I wouldn’t give it up,” Rosenthal said. “It’s so fast-paced. I played soccer for so long, but basketball’s just so much faster and more entertaining to me. That’s why I fell onto it and that’s why I’m still playing it.” Rosenthal has committed to play basketball next year at Vassar, a small D3 college in upstate New York. According to Rosenthal, she emailed many East Coast schools, looking for a coach who could attend one of her AAU tournaments.

“I was lucky enough to find a coach who was coming to my tournament and she liked the way I played, so she kept pursuing me, and I ended up really liking the school when I visited it,” Rosenthal said. “When it came down to it, she gave me the option of applying early and guaranteeing my acceptance, which was really, really lucky.”

According to Rosenthal, her position has switched around a lot over the years, and she is flexible as to what position she plays.

“My freshman and sophomore year and some of junior year, I played post, which was really difficult because I had never played post before,” Rosenthal said. “They just kind of threw me in, which was kind of frustrating, but it’s really helpful now being a three guard. If someone small is guarding me, being able to post them up has been really, really beneficial.”

According to teammate Lauren Hutchinson, Rosenthal acts as a role model for the younger players on the team.

“The word to describe her is a leader,” Hutchinson said. “People look up to her and look to her on and off the court. She believes in everyone on the team and her energy is contagious in helping our team play with heart.”

Rosenthal said she tries to inspire others through her actions.

“I just try and lead by example,” Rosenthal said. “That’s the biggest thing. I know everyone says that —leading by example’ — but it’s truly the only way you can. There’s a difference if I was telling people to do stuff and I wasn’t doing it myself.”

Just a few years ago, Rosenthal was in the underclassmen’s shoes, playing as a freshman on the varsity team and joining the starting lineup just a few games into her first high school season.

“It was intimidating at times, but it was fun at the same time because coming in as a freshman it was really exciting to hang out with the older girls,” Rosenthal said. “They were all so, so welcoming. It made the transition much easier and that’s what I try to do for all the underclassmen now—just make them feel as comfortable as possible.”