There will always be kids who get it. There will always be kids who see the big picture. There will always be kids who are loyal to their teammates, school, coaches and the past. These players win games, these players don’t walk out the door, when things don’t go there way. These players are leaders, they are the ALPHA FEMALES….JEN LOURO, ALEX PENDERGRASS AND ELLYN STOLL represent all that is good about high school basketball.
It was senior night at St. Rose this week. It’s the night everyone thanks a player and there parents for believing and trusting in a school, coach and program. Senior night is an evening for all to reflex on a journey. It’s a day where everyone says, “can you believe it went that fast” Its the night a proud coach can smile and say in this case. All three of my seniors have D1 scholarships. It’s a day in this case where the St. Rose family can take a bow…..JEN LOURO…ELLYN STOLL AND ALEX PENDERGRASS also derserve standing ovations.
When the three St. Rose seniors play there last game, they will leave a Legacy, unlike no other group in St. Rose history. This legacy will have nothing to with wins and losses. They will be an example of fighting the good fight. In a time of me, me, me. LOURO, STOLL and PENDERGRASS said we, we, we. These are the days, when things don’t go a players way, they run out the door. The parents blame the school and coaches. The player refuses to accept truth and the inner circle tells them just what they want to hear. The St. Rose Three were just the opposite. When as freshman they barely played in meaningful game, THEY STAYED THE COURSE and didn’t make excuses. But yet felt the heat of their task master and brilliant coach, Joe Whalen. THE ST. ROSE THREE were asked to do all the little things. Like get up 5 in the morning to shoot. Be on the scout team , learn from the seniors, cheer, stand up and pat backs. Yet not to expect the reward of playing time. Most kids these days would bark at such a deal. They’d transfer, become a cancer, quit and in some cases, learn to become TROUBLE MAKERS. The St. Rose Three trusted there coach and believed in his vision. The same coach…WHO NEVER STOPPED COACHING AND DEVELOPING THEM.
The St. Rose Three, know what it’s like to be part of TEAM and get little or any credit. There were major parts to a team that made it to the TOC final. They got little credit when St. Rose beat SJV, Manasquan and LUHI all were #1 in New Jersey or #1 in the Tri State area at the time. The credit went to their two seniors. Nobody talked about JEN LOURO turning the lights out on the great LUHI guard Boogie. They did not talk about her masterful defense on the Manasquan guards or her defense on Marina Mabrey when the game was in the balance, when St. Rose took down Manasquan. Nobody said a word when ELLYN STOLL got mid evil on the SJV D1 roster of guards and made them ghost for an entire afternoon. Nobody talked about her personal sacfice for the team. Nobody talked about ALEX PENDERGRASS cheering like a wild women, while never hitting the floor vs Manasquan or SJV. Nobody heard her tell me and I quote “Coach Whalen is the best coach in the country” and she barely played as a sophomore. The St. Rose Three did the dirty work and never asked for credit and never received any.
They have heard it all and been in a lot of ways disrespected. When their two ALL STATE seniors left, everyone said they would fall back. That didn’t happen, because getting up everyday shooting in the summer at 5am pays off. It didn’t happen because driving an hour to go to a ball handling coach pays off. It didn’t happen because they learned what real tougness and team means under Joe Whalen.
Yup, last season was special and yet nobody said a word about ALEX PENDERGRASS going down to injury may have prevented a TOC and SCT TITLE. She was beastly before that injury. Nobody talks how they almost took out one of the greatest teams Shore history in the SCT. They barely said a word about ELLYN STOLL show stopping performance, it was a after thought . Jen Louro’s masterpiece never made the paper. No words about the 10 rebounds, 4 assist and 3 steals. This is the disrespect that has followed these three. They seem to have never be able to do enough to make the critics happy or to get recognized. They don’t get Awards like All Shore and All State. Those awards go to those who have learned how to play the game. How to pad stats, how to brag about lesser players. The spotlight goes to those box score junkies….Not ALWAYS to the winners. The HATERS have never wanted to see or acknowledge all this greatest for some reason.
The St.Rose Three are in the final days. Their right back where they started. They get little credit but much criticism. We talk about the weak schedule and the tough losses. But we don’t talk about the leadership qualities, these three drama free seniors bring everyday to their team. We don’t talk about, that they all are mega students. We seem to forget how classy all three have represented their school and families. Ever seen them show a lack of sportsmanship? Every hear them complain? Ever hear them talk bad about another team or player? The answer is NO..Now turn that question around and direct them at the ST. ROSE THREE AND THERE PROGRAM. Yet despite this, they remain focused and on a mission. They’ve been doubted these three their entire careers… they have never gotten the spotlight…they have never truly been treated fairly or rewarded for amazing careers at ST. ROSE. But it’s okay, because JEN LOURO, ELLYN STOLL and ALEX PENDERGRASS only care about “WE”…NOT “I”….They have set the standard for years to come at ST. ROSE .
Soon THE ST. ROSE THREE will play Manasquan in the biggest game of the year in the Shore. If St.Rose wins they will be the #1 seed in the Shore. These three were babies where there when the #1 seed was stolen from three years ago, so they know to expect anything. There were the #1 seed two years ago. So ask yourself how can a group accomplish so much, yet face such disrespect. I have the answer and it’s crystal clear. These three represent every thing which is good about high school basketball. JEN LOURO will attend U-Mass Lowell…ELLYN STOLL will attend NJIT….ALEX PENDERGRASS will attend Manhattan College.
All three have won so many games it’s almost seems like fiction. They are kids who play for their teammates. There families believe in the school and coach. The three girls LOVE THE SCHOOL. It’s this reason why they have not gotten there due…It just seens all to good to be true. The haters believe there must be something there hiding, nobody can do I this, with such class and putting ego aside. To them it’s just not possible, everyone wants the spotlight and the lions share of the credit. What they don’t understand is this. THE ST. ROSE THREE ARE GETTING WHATS IMPORTANT TO THEM…winning and respect from their teammates and coaches..
*****CORE SKILL TRAINING HAS SPOTS OPEN STILL FOR TOMORROW******