Rylie Galvin patiently waited at the free-throw line for an inbounds play.
Then, with a burst of speed, she broke right, curled around a screen and drove hard to the basket.
The St. Laurence sophomore caught a zip pass from Mary Walsh and easily laid the ball in late in the second half.
Minutes later, Galvin calmly stepped to the free-throw line and swished back-to-back shots to ice the win in June at the four-week Shepard Summer League.
Oh, what a difference a year makes.
“The newness of it all has settled,” Galvin said. “Last year coming in as a freshman, my brain is going ‘Oh my God, these girls are four years older than me. I’m the youngest one here.’ Now, it’s settled down. It’s the same game no matter what age you are.”
Galvin’s calm heroics helped the Vikings claim a physical 36-31 victory over T.F. South.
Sure, it was just a summer league win, but for the third-year program, Coach George Shimko continued to see marked improvement in skill and pure numbers.
The Vikings fielded two teams at Shepard, the Black team led by seniors and the Gold team led by sophomores, with freshmen on both rosters.
“We split the girls up, the older kids and the younger kids, let them play varsity and see how it works,” Shimko said. “You’re starting to see the building of a nice program like we did at Queen of Peace with kids who just want to play basketball.”
With only one senior on the roster last year, St. Laurence finished 15-17 in the 2018-19 season, losing in a Class 3A regional final.
Returning everyone else on the roster to go with an influx of freshmen, another step forward as a program is certainly in the works.
However, for Walsh (St. Cajetan), a sophomore forward, she wants the team to stay in the moment and improve day to day through its busy summer schedule.
“We’ve gotten better and closer as a team,” Walsh said. “We can trust each other more. We know we can count on our teammates through anything. Our goal is to just play our best and see where it takes us. We want to have fun and play our game.”
With so much youth on the rosters, Galvin said the now-veteran sophomore class needs to step up into leadership roles.
“We know we need to be a role model for them,” Galvin said. “If we get out of control, the whole game could go that way. It doesn’t matter your age. You just need to stay in your game.”
Galvin (Mt. Greenwood) averaged 5.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.8 assists during her freshman campaign.
Shimko said he’s seen plenty of growth from Galvin.
“Rylie was mature last year, but she was a freshman playing with varsity,” Shimko said. “She sat back a little. You see her leadership skills now.”
As for the incoming freshman class, Shimko said they have fit right in.
“They’re all basketball players,” Shimko said. “They’ve played a lot of basketball and understand the game. Our sophomores are great kids, too. They’re so coachable. They adjust. Their basketball IQ is so high.”