By CHRIS CHRISTOPHER
The shot went up from the right corner of the court.
Sporting perfect rotation, the ball swished through the net.
Brynn Farrell pumped her fists, happy her three-point attempt widened St. Rose High School’s lead.
The shot helped the Purple Roses’ girls basketball team past Rumson-Fair Haven Regional 72-41 in the Shore Conference Tournament quarterfinals at the RWJ Barnabas Health Center in Toms River.
Not only did the field goal stake the winners to a 20-8 lead with 1:16 to play in the first quarter, it gave the senior guard-forward a shot of sorely needed confidence.
“My shot had not been falling as much as it did earlier in the season,” she said after scoring 19 points, including nine in the first quarter, grabbing 12 rebounds and handing out five assists against the Bulldogs. “Each time I hit a three, I do a little fist pump. I was really happy that it went through the net and that I hit the shot, especially in that game.”
Farrell often works on her range from deep.
“I take as many long ones from over the middle and from the sides,” she said. “I will practice shots from a couple of steps in front of the midcourt line to make my shot more consistent.”
Farrell followed with a 32-point showing, bombing home two shots from deep in a 70-63 loss to St.John Vianney in the semifinals at the RWJ Barnabas Health Center.
“Brynn has a great work ethic,” St. Rose coach Mary Beth Chambers said. “In her eyes, she had been struggling. Making that shot made her feel good. You could see it made her feel good. She does so many great things.”
Farrell has scored well over 1,000 career varsity points. Small wonder the 155-pounder sees a variety of defenses. Opponents have thrown 3-2 and 2-3 zones, a diamond and two, a 1-2-2 full court press and man-to-man at the scoring machine in often futile bids to make Farrell malfunction.
“We have adjusted very well to them,” Farrell said, “and the adjustments are still coming. I play my game and do whatever I can to help my team win and get the best outcome of each game we play. I try to do the best for my team.”
“Brynn has evolved,” Chambers said. “She knows if different defenses key on her to look for her teammates. She plays a complete game. She draws defenders to her and finds her open teammates for baskets.”
Farrell takes pride in her team play.
“My favorite aspects of basketball are winning and getting everyone involved,” she said. “I do all I can to help the team win.”
Farrell began her high school career at St. Joseph of Metuchen. It didn’t take her long to establish a reputation as a prolific scorer as she erupted for nearly 750 varsity points as a freshman. She missed the majority of her sophomore year on the bench, playing in only the first two games of the season courtesy of a broken left wrist suffered during a game.
“I went up for a layup, got undercut and fell on the wrist,” she said. “I could not move it. I could see it was split. It was bad. It’s OK these days. One day after I broke the wrist, I was back in the gym. It never healed the way I wanted it to. It set me back a little bit, but it also made me focus more on my shooting. It helped my range as I was not able to do left-handed layups for a while. I worked on my jumper and on my shooting. I am a lefty in everything else. I play sports with my right hand.”
Turns out the injury was a key reason Farrell transferred to St. Rose after her sophomore season.
“I always loved the atmosphere at St. Rose,” she said. “I always wanted to come here. After I broke the wrist, I saw the opportunity and I just came here. I am happy I came here. I have received a lot of exposure and I got the chance to play in the Shore Conference Tournament. The tournament has tough competition. Going to St. Rose has made me a better player as I play against such good people every night. St. Rose is a really good program. There is a good atmosphere. It’s definitely a basketball school if you’re looking for that.”
Farrell has signed a National Letter of Intent to play on the University of Florida’s women’s team. She chose the Gators over Alabama, Arizona and Central Florida.
“I love the coaching staff and the Southeastern Conference,” she said. “The girls on the team were so welcoming. I love the school’s location and the basketball program is on the upswing. I want to go there and keep it going up.”
Farrell said she made one official visit to Florida, Alabama and UCF. She was recruited as a wing forward.
“To be a productive college player, I have to definitely work on my jumper and develop a step back shot,” she said. “I have to develop a quicker release on my shot and finish (score) more consistently. On defense, I have to step it up and work on all aspects. In high school, my strengths are making moves to the basket and trying to finish.”
The 5-foot-11 Farrell, an A and B student in a demanding course of study, said she enjoyed the recruiting process.
“It was really enjoyable to make all of the recruiting visits with all of the coaches,” she said. “It was a really good experience overall. I am super excited to play in college. I want to start practicing, get with the girls and see what I can accomplish there. When I was playing AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) ball, I saw I could play in college and I definitely wanted to play in college. As the years went on, I said, ‘OK. I can do this.’ ”
Farrell, whose father, Mike, played for Montclair State University, has played basketball since the fourth grade. She credited her father, mother, Christine Farrell; Chambers, and trainer Kerry Soderingham, based in Somerset County, for a large part of her development.
“My parents have always been so supportive,” she said. “They take me to my games and to my training sessions. They never hesitate to drive me to my games and training sessions.”