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Perrotta a Blue Devil of a different color


Cato-Meridian's Laura Perrotta posts up on a LaFayette defender.

Cato-Meridian basketball star coming to ESF

Reid Silverman / The Citizen By Michelle Prego / The Citizen


MERIDIAN - Laura Perrotta's name stood out from the others on Tuesday night just like her play as a center on the Cato-Meridian girls basketball team.

While the other two senior's names were splashed across large yellow posters in blue paint for senior recognition night, Perrotta chose pink, her favorite color.

The Blue Devils' leading scorer (she had a team-high nine points in Cato-Meridian's 36-21 loss to LaFayette), it's almost surprising that Perrotta would do anything to attract attention to herself.

While she is a physical player on the court, she's shy and quiet off it.

"She's certainly not running down the hallway knocking people out of the way," joked Blue Devil coach Charlie Balog.

Perrotta's timid nature kept her from joining the basketball team until high school. Instead of joining the modified team in middle school, she waited until her freshman year to play JV.

"I was really shy, it wasn't until I got to high school that I really started being more brave and outgoing and started doing stuff with sports," Perrotta said. "I told my mom I wish she would have made me (start) when I was younger."

After she graduates this June, Perrotta plans to attend SUNY ESF and eventually will study to be a veterinarian. Off the court, she snowboards and rides horses in addition to working on two local farms.

In the fall she played field hockey before stepping into her role as a captain on the basketball team.

LaFayette coach Mark Wilson has seen why Cato-Meridian can look to Perrotta for leadership -- and not just because she is one of a handful of girls on the team that are experienced.

"She's stepped up, obviously she's the go-to girl on this team," Wilson said. "When they look to get inside she battles down low. She crashes the boards hard and she makes the other teams have to work. She works hard for every basket she gets."

Along with her natural ability and muscle (Perrotta blocked a LaFayette shot by using pure strength to push the ball back into the shooter's hands and hold it there), Balog believes that Perrotta's even-temperament makes her a good role model for her younger teammates.

"It's really hard to get her angry, her mom says I should," he joked. "She's always very poised. She may be aggressive but she doesn't lose control and she doesn't lose her temper like you see other athletes do."

Perrotta enjoys her senior leadership role.

"I love how all the girls look up to me and how they want to practice more," she said. "I love to give them pointers and teach them how to be more aggressive."

In the third quarter of Tuesday's game with the score 16-11 in LaFayette's favor, Perrotta (7.8 ppg) hit a jumper in the lane to bring Cato-Meridian back within three.

The Lancers started to pull away on their next possession, when Heather McKay (11 points) hit a 3-pointer.

Heidi McKay got a steal, setting up Colleen Dixon's 3-pointer to increase the lead to nine.

The Blue Devils wouldn't get any closer than eight for the rest of the game.

"We usually only get two 3-pointers a game so I guess it was our time," Wilson said. "To take it from three points and get it right up to nine, that was a big help."

Lisa Cole had four points for the Blue Devils.

Madlyn Ennist and Cricket Mansfield were also honored on senior recognition night for Cato-Meridian (0-16), who travels to Hannibal on Friday.

The Citizen Copyright © 2005 A division of Lee Publications, Inc.

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