New London's Misto named 2017 coach of the year by Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance

New London girls' basketball coach Holly Misto shouts out instructions to her team during the game against Capital Prep on Dec. 20 at New London.  (Dana Jensen/The Day)
New London girls' basketball coach Holly Misto shouts out instructions to her team during the game against Capital Prep on Dec. 20 at New London. (Dana Jensen/The Day)

The New London High School girls' basketball team has embarked on another season, another adventure entirely.

Just that the last extraordinary season, encompassing the Whalers' Class LL state championship and No. 1 ranking in Connecticut, has a way of enduring.

New London coach Holly Misto was honored Monday by the Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance, named the 2017 Doc McInerney High School Coach of the Year for girls' sports. She will be recognized on Sunday, April 29, at the Alliance's Gold Key Dinner — held at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington — along with the Doc McInerney winner for boys' sports, Jeff Brameier of the Danbury High boys' lacrosse team.

Misto, in her fourth season at New London, is 79-8 with two state championship appearances during that time. She is 252-66 overall, including nine seasons as coach at Westerly High School, where her team won the 2010 Division II state championship.

The Whalers are 6-0 headed into Wednesday's game at East Haven.

“Coach definitely knows what she's talking about,” New London senior co-captain Rosi Nicholson said. “Whether it's something that you learn on the court or something we learn in life, she wants us to listen and learn.”

“Her biggest thing that she's always said to us is we hate to lose more than we love to win,” senior co-captain Cora Sawyer said. “It's become a constant. We know what we want. We want to win states. … We all want to have success. Being a woman who's successful in her job, she brings that forward to us as a team.”

New London was 26-2 last season, sharing the Eastern Connecticut Conference Division I title and winning the league's Division I tournament championship.

The Whalers' postseason, which included a buzzer-beater by Nicholson to end a Class LL quarterfinal win over Stamford, culminated with a 42-36 victory over top-ranked Trumbull in the state championship game March 18 at Mohegan Sun Arena.

New London was ranked first in the final GameTimeCT/New Haven Register Top 10 poll. The Whalers sent two members of the team to Division I college programs in India Pagan (Stony Brook) and Jada Lucas (Hartford) and Pagan was named The Day's All-Area Player of the Year.

Last week, New London's championship journey was recognized as The Day's top local sports story of 2017.

Misto is a Doctor of Optometry with a practice in Westerly. She is a 1983 graduate of Westerly High School and a member of the Westerly Athletic Hall of Fame.

Misto is assisted at New London by coaches Arianna Dolock, Missy Parker and Sue Beil.

Gold Key recipients at the Alliance dinner will be PGA golf professional Dennis Coscina, former Granby Memorial High School field hockey coach Dot Johnson, New Canaan High School football coach Lou Marinelli, newly retired UConn women’s soccer coach Len Tsantiris and Olympic ice hockey gold medalist Gretchen Ulion-Silverman.

Tickets to the Gold Key Dinner are $75 each and may be reserved by contacting CSWA President Tim Jensen of Patch Media Corp. at tim.jensen@patch.com or (860) 394-5091. Proceeds from the event benefit the Bo Kolinsky Journalism Scholarship.

v.fulkerson@theday.com

 

New London girls' basketball coach Holly Misto encourages her team during the game against Capital Prep on Dec. 20 at New London.  (Dana Jensen/The Day)
New London girls' basketball coach Holly Misto encourages her team during the game against Capital Prep on Dec. 20 at New London. (Dana Jensen/The Day)

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