Local roundup: Waterford's Bonilla commits to play women's basketball for Division I Marist

Waterford's Julianna Bonilla, right, made a verbal commitment Friday to play collegiately for the Division I Marist College women's basketball team. (Dana Jensen/Day File Photo)
Waterford's Julianna Bonilla, right, made a verbal commitment Friday to play collegiately for the Division I Marist College women's basketball team. (Dana Jensen/Day File Photo)

Waterford — Julianna Bonilla, entering her senior year at Waterford High School, understandably had a joyful tone to her voice in a telephone conversation Friday after she verbally committed to play collegiate women’s basketball at Division I Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

Bonilla, a 5-foot-10 forward/guard, led Waterford to an Eastern Connecticut Conference Division II tournament championship last season, earning tournament MVP honors, as well as being named an ECC Division II all-star.

And then, Bonilla’s success continued this summer with the Connecticut Storm’s 11th-Grade Premier Team.

“She was playing great for us at the end of the season. I was glad to see it just kind of transfer,” Waterford coach Brian Fleming said. “She’s definitely a scholarship player. … I think she’s just getting started. She’s really kind of starting to figure out how good she is and taking more of a leadership role.

“I talked to Brian Wilson (former head coach at Conn, now an assistant at Quinnipiac) and he said she had a great, great camp at their camp. She had a couple good exposure moments.”

Bonilla said she received three Division I scholarship offers this summer, during which the Storm have competed in Illinois, Kentucky and Maryland.

She attended camp at Marist over the weekend and committed Friday to the Red Foxes, who, under coach Brian Giorgis, compete in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Bonilla plans to major in business.

“I’m very excited,” Bonilla said. “I’m having a great summer. I felt great. My (AAU) teammates support each other so much … that led to all the exposure from these nice coaches.

“Definitely staying positive,” Bonilla said, asked what she felt she’s been doing well for the Storm. “Motivation. Hustling. Trying to outwork everybody. Pushing the ball … we like to get the ball up the court. … I went for my unofficial visit (at Marist) and it was beautiful. I loved the coaches and the team. It’s a great fit for me. I’m extremely blessed.”

Tigers lose

• The Brooklyn Cyclones scored five runs in the bottom of the second inning and went on to beat the Connecticut Tigers 9-2 in a New York-Penn League game. Dayton Dugas hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning for the Tigers (23-27), who were held to three hits.

Beckwith earns scholarship

• Sydney Beckwith of Uncasville, representing the Connecticut Tigers, was selected as one of four winners of the New York-Penn League Charitable Foundation Scholarship grand prize.

Beckwith is a 2018 graduate of Montville High School and will be attending Central Connecticut State University in the fall. She is a volunteer for the Make-A-Wish Foundation as an ambassador and uses her own experience as a cancer survivor to help those going through the toughest of times, in addition to their loved ones. During her time at Montville, Sydney was a part of the girls' lacrosse team and served as manager for the football team, while maintaining a strong academic standing.

Each of the NYPL’s 14 member clubs annually select a scholarship applicant from their local community they feel is most deserving. These 14 applicants are then entered into the second round of judging, when applicants are chosen to win the top prize of a scholarship to be applied to any two or four-year college or university, vocational or technical education institution or program.

Awards are judged on several criteria, including academic performance, examples of leadership, community service, extracurricular activities and the impact each applicant’s NYPL franchise has had on his or her life.

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