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Stonington - The setting was the week-long AIM summer program (Academy Introduction Mission) at the Coast Guard Academy, where Stonington's Amanda Roy was learning what it was like to be a part of the academy's grueling Swab Summer for incoming cadets.
It was one of those moments when the hypothetical swabs, just like the real swabs, were made to stand and hold their arms straight out holding a Coast Guard instruction manual, reading away, memorizing. Only the participant next to Roy could no longer hold his arms out. Roy was then saddled with both her book and her neighbor's.
"At first you maybe think, 'Why can't he hold his own book?'" Roy said. "By the end of the week your mindset totally shifts. … At the beginning of the week, we're still individuals. By the end of the week, we're such a team."
That was the summer of 2012, before Roy's senior year at Stonington High School.
Little could she know that teamwork would be paramount to her successes this year, as a member of the Stonington field hockey team which reached the Class S final and now as a co-captain of the girls' basketball team which tonight enters the postseason.
The Bears open play in the Eastern Connecticut Conference tournament at 7 tonight in Stonington with against New London. Stonington (13-7), which has four players averaging in double figures, including Roy (10.3 ppg), has also qualified for the Class M state tournament.
Roy, a 5-foot-6 guard, also has next season to look forward to. Following the AIM program, she applied to and received an appointment at Coast Guard, where she will play for coach Alex Ivansheck.
Roy currently has 79 career 3-point field goals, second all-time at Stonington after Brittany Solar's 100. She is also second with 38 3-pointers in a single-season, behind Solar's 49. She is 20-for-27 from the free throw line (team-leading .741) and has 37 assists.
"I'm excited for her," Stonington coach Paulla Solar said. "This is the first girl we've had out of our basketball program go to Coast Guard. She worked extremely hard in the offseason, working on and perfecting her shot … even when she was playing another sport."
Solar said she can see Roy's maturation from her summer experience at Coast Guard. Roy said playing under Solar, a principled, hall of fame coach, is what prepared her for the academy.
Either way, Roy decided at the beginning of her junior year that she wanted to attend Coast Guard and pursued her appointment proactively, talking to coaches, officers … constantly making sure the right people knew of her eagerness.
"I knew I wanted to help people; I don't want to sit," Roy said this week. "I learned more about it and I decided, 'I want to be a part of it.'"
The mock Swab Summer only fortified that feeling. Each day of the summer program was designed to represent one week of Swab Summer, said Roy, who was assigned to Foxtrot Company. Reveille was at 6. The participants toured the campus, marched, sailed, did pushups and had the chance to take part in an engineering project, building robotic boats.
"We learned about the person from the Coast Guard that won the Medal of Honor (Douglas Munro), 'so others may live (the motto of Coast Guard's rescue swimmers),'" Roy said. "That's what really spoke to me. I want to go do something greater than myself.
"… You all hold each other up. When you're doing all those pushups, and they're hard, you could just give up, but you're doing it for the person next to you."
It's a prevalent theme at Stonington this season, where the Bears' starting five have all contributed steadily to a winning season.
Freshman guard Taty LaFrance Boyce leads the team in scoring (12.2 ppg) and steals (80), while sophomore Margot Calmar (11.5 ppg, 12.9 rebounds per game) and senior Falecia Cabral (10.8 ppg, 7.6 rpg, team-high 50 assists) are among the best one-two post combinations in the league.
Roy and fellow senior guard Mackensie Crowley are the co-captains, although Solar said Cabral and Annika Burgess, the other seniors, are also helping with the leadership role.
Meanwhile, Roy didn't apply anywhere but Coast Guard. She was about to when Ivansheck, in her first season, called her just before Christmas with the news of Roy's appointment.
"I knew her passion to be in the Coast Guard," Ivansheck said. "She wants to be a part of the program. She'll do whatever it takes to win, she takes it to heart. She can shoot and she'll add a competitiveness to the team. I'm excited to have her."
No. 11 Woodstock at No. 6 Montville, 7 p.m.
No. 10 New London at No. 7 Stonington, 7 p.m.
No. 9 Lyman Memorial at No. 8 St. Bernard, 7 p.m.
No. 1 Bacon vs. St. Bernard-Lyman winner, noon
No. 4 Plainfield vs. No. 5 East Lyme, 2 p.m.
No. 2 Ledyard vs. Stonington-New London winner, 4 p.m.
No. 3 NFA vs. Montville-Woodstock winner, 6 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 20
TBA, 6 and 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 22
Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.