As a 6-footer who plays three varsity sports at and who also does well in the classroom, Danielle Padovano can't help but stand tall. Helping South Brunswick to a 12-1 mark during the current girls basketball season, however, has certainly given the junior an added boost.
"This has been very exciting," Padovano said. "We've had a great season so far and I'm looking forward to playing teams the second time around."
The 11th and 12th wins came for South Brunswick this past week. South Brunswick defeated Old Bridge, 62-34, on Tuesday. On Thursday, South Brunswick managed a 47-6 win over JP Stevens.
"We won some games early and we just kept it rolling," Padovano said.
South Brunswick has rolled to an average margin of victory of 24.8 points in its 12 wins. Now, that's some serious rolling.
Thus far this season, Padovano has averaged 15.5 points and 13.1 rebounds a game. She has also added 1.8 assists and solid defense, with 2.2 steals a game.
Of course, Padovano is just one of the returning players. Kelly O'Brien, Vanessa Perdomo and Victoria Jackson are all seniors that earned a letter last year. Padovano, Danielle Roberts and Ashley DeGroff are the returning junior letter winners.
"We've worked hard, so it's nice to see it all paying off," Padovano said.
When Padovano talks about working hard with her teammates, she's going back further than the start of the season. Not only did the majority of the team play summer ball and on varsity last season, they have been together since grade school.
Rich Padovano, Danielle's dad, coached his daughter and her friends in local leagues. According to Mr. Padovano, all those years together can only be looked at as a positive.
"They have been together since fifth and sixth grade and they have stayed together," Mr. Padovano said. "It's good to see they have stayed together.
"When you spend that much time together on the court, you get to know each other's talents and moves. They know where the other girls will be on the court. It helps a lot."
How much has it helped? A 12-1 record and a 24.8-point average margin of victory, just in case anyone has forgotten.
In addition to being coached by her father, Danielle has also spent a lot of time watching games with him. Danielle has also stayed with family ties when it comes to her Spring season.
Watching how well her , Danielle also decided to throw the shot and discus. She got good enough to team with Chloe Hall and Amber Brown to win the GMC Relays in the shot and discus last season.
"I definitely looked up to him," Danielle noted of her big brother. "It was great to be able to be able to do track with him the past two years (Dominick is now in college)."
Because of her height, Danielle was encouraged to also play volleyball at South Brunswick
"I like being busy," she noted. "Knowing I have a lot to do, I get the work done rather than sit around. It keeps me on my toes."
Donna Padovano, Danielle's mom, appreciates the way her daughter has been able to keep her priorities as well.
"She enjoys everything she does," Mrs. Padovano said. "She's a natural athlete and also does well in school. I'm very proud of her."
The best part is there are a lot of games left. There are four more sports seasons for Danielle to excel at South Brunswick after this one. Of course, no one in the Padovano family is in any rush to see this basketball season end.
The way Padovano and her teammates are playing, they have made themselves big targets for the opposition. Then again, there is a reason why they have played as well as they have. They are good. They have a big talent.
"It's just been a great season," Danielle said. "I think if we keep working hard and stay focused, we can keep knocking teams off."