Story and photos by Jay Cook
OCEAN – It was a night to remember for Bridget Andree.
From the opening whistle, it was clear on Friday evening that something special was in the works. More than the usual crowd of Trinity Hall students packed the gymnasium at St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church Athletic Center, creating a sea of blue and orange in the four rows of maroon-colored bleachers.
Her family was mixed in among the crowd, quietly rooting their youngest daughter on as she carved out the next largest milestone in her basketball career.
On a third quarter drive to the basket where she initially missed, nabbed her own offensive rebound and then made the next shot, Andree became the first 1,000-point scorer in Trinity Hall’s short history as an athletic program.
It was quiet and still moments before that score. He parents and siblings, perfectly placed at the north end of the court, cheered on each prior basket knowing Andree was inching closer to recording school history. As the biggest basket of her high school career hit the net, she was attacked with hugs and screams from her Monarch teammates.
“Honestly, I’m just so grateful for this moment,” Andree said after the game, which Trinity Hall won, 46-38, against Monmouth Regional. “It’s really due to my teammates and my coaches that have been there for me all the way. I’m really grateful to have them.”
While Andree is a force on the hardwood as a scorer, shot blocker and rebounder, she is arguably an even better student. Scoring 1,000 points in a high school career shows as much dedication to the craft as much as a 4.0 grade point average in the classroom shows commitment to her studies. Andree, a senior in Trinity Hall’s second graduating class, was also elected as the student council president for the 2017-2018 term. It’s a sign she impacts more than just numbers on a scoreboard.
Pat Grier, the head basketball coach at Trinity Hall, said it didn’t take long to realize Andree was special. The pair met through basketball at St. Leo’s the Great in Lincroft when Andree was a seventh grader and Grier was the head coach there.
“Watching her and seeing her grow through these four years of high school has been an honor and a pleasure,” said Grier. “She has developed through her own hard work and perseverance and that’s what made her so special.”
And all of that hard work culminated, for now, in Ocean on Jan. 19. Grier believes Andree’s unrelenting drive is what makes her a special young woman.
“She is truly and exemplary person in that she gives 110 percent in everything she does – never looking for anything in return but knowing she gave it her best,” Grier added. “Even on the basketball court and in the classroom, she gives it her best; never lets down that guard.”
In the basketball world, Andree comes from a lineage of great players and their connection to the Shore Conference scene is well versed. Her father, Tim, played college basketball at Notre Dame under famous Irish coach Digger Phelps in the early 1980s. Her eldest brother, Tim Jr., walked on to Notre Dame’s basketball team after a career at Christian Brothers Academy. Her other older brother, Pat, finished his basketball career at Christian Brothers Academy in 2016 as the all-time leading scorer with 1,987 points – he’s now playing at Lehigh University. So, to put it plainly, Andree never had a shortage of competition in the driveway or at the gym.
“It’s really just about giving it your all in every game, every practice,” she said, of what it means to be an Andree. “Just picking your head up after mistakes, just trying your hardest and giving it your heart and hustle. That’s the best legacy.”
That heart and hustle has paid off so far this season. The Monarchs sit atop their “B” Central division at 13-0 and are only one of two remaining undefeated teams in the Shore Conference – St. John Vianney is the other. While she’s far from a self-centered person, much of Trinity Hall’s success has come in stride with Andree’s remarkable play during her senior season.
Andree is averaging a double-double as the Monarchs march through undefeated territory. Her 18.4 points per game and 10.7 rebounds per game have been a key catalyst and her 2.8 steals per game and 2.6 assists per game have made her a constant stat sheet stuffer.
“We’re definitely a new program but have been growing together as a team,” she said. “Thinking about where we were freshman year to where we are now has been crazy. To start our legacy here for Trinity Hall Monarch basketball has been special.”
Trinity Hall recently announced plans to expand on its Fort Monmouth campus, and with that will come a home gym for the Monarchs. In a few years, a 1,000-point banner tied to the rafters will have Andree’s name listed at the top. But Andree says there should be more than one name there, as it took more than one person’s dedication to reach that milestone.
“It really means everything to me. I’m just to thankful for my teammates and my coaches,” she said. “They’ve been with me every step of the way. It really wasn’t me, it’s all due to them and everything they’ve done for me.
This article was first published in the Jan. 25-Feb. 1, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.
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