Written by Hal Bock Friday, 08 February 2013 00:00
Herricks High School’s basketball program is celebrating the accomplishments of two 1,000-point scorers, one boy and one girl, both seniors who own their school career scoring record. And both are convinced that the other one is the better player.
So who would win a 1-on-1 match between Andrew Fellus and Alison Ricchiuti?
“She would,” Fellus said.
“He would,’” Ricchiuti said.
One thing is certain. It would be a battle because these two players, who both began playing backyard basketball as youngsters and grew into varsity stars at Herricks, have a zest for the game and an ability to score baskets almost at will.
Their achievements are still sinking in on the two players, who still remember their first baskets all these points later.
“It was in the second quarter of a game in my freshman year,” Fellus said. “I had an open 3-pointer. I knocked it down. When that happens, you think to yourself, `Hey, I can do this.’ You’ve been playing all your life, since you were a little kid and then, one day, you get there.”
Ricchiuti’s first basket came in a scrimmage. “I was excited,” she said. “I didn’t expect to play or score and then I did. It was a great feeling.”
The 1,000-point plateau came later for both. “I got there first,” Ricchiuti said. Fellus followed and recalled his feelings on the accomplishment.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “It’s a dream come true. When I was a little kid, looking at older kids and thinking I want to be like them and then to get there, that’s special.”
Fellus punctuated his run to 1,000 points with a 49-point game against Calhoun. On the same night, Ricchiuti hit 34 against the same opponent.
The two Highlander stars have contrasting styles.
Fellus is a point guard who likes to shoot 3-pointers. “I shoot a lot of them,” he said. “When you hit a big three, that’s the greatest feeling in the world.” He often draws the attention of more than one defender, allowing him to feed teammates for open shots. “I get great joy out of assists,” he said. “When they double team me, it allows me to set up teammates.”
Ricchiuti drives to the basket more but appreciates the big three, as well.
Both have scholarship offers and plan to play college ball. Fellus plans to study business. Ricchiuti is looking for a major in physical or occupational therapy. Each maintains a 3.3 academic average and both have learned to budget their time.
“Balancing school work and basketball helps me stay organized,” said Ricchiuti, who also plays soccer. “We all know that if you don’t do well in school, you don’t play. And we want to play.”
“You’re motivated,” Fellus said. “You want to do well at basketball and you want to do well in class. You want to go to a good college and play there. That’s the motivation.”
The next stop for each will be to take their game to the next level in college. But if they want to try a little intramural 1-on-1 beforehand, well, they’d better bring their game face to the court because they’ll be facing a record-breaking opponent.