Albany Times Union
Gitto brings energy, production
Sophomore guard has made presence felt coming off the bench
Ava Gitto is a sophomore guard playing in her third varsity season for the Albany Academy for Girls’ basketball team.
Saturday, Gitto came off the bench to score 11 points in helping the Bears capture the program’s first state playoff victory with a 62-37 decision over Saranac in Class B state quarterfinal play.
Third-ranked Albany Academy for Girls (24-1) next plays Friday at Hudson Valley Community College against Section I champion Putnam Valley (25-1), ranked No. 2, at 11:45 a.m. in the state semifinals.
Q: Saturday’s game had to be exciting for a lot of different reasons as it was the first state playoff game in program history. How are feeling about things?
A: I am feeling really good. As a team, we all work together really well and we all share the ball. We’re not selfish people, so everyone gets a chance to score.
Q: From your prospective coming off the bench, what are you trying to provide the team?
A: I am trying to come off the bench strong and make other people look good as well as myself.
Q: The team enjoyed a quality season last year winning 16 games, which was the program record until this season. Do you get a sense last season that this season’s team would be special?
A: I would say we have a really good group of girls. We have three strong seniors with Stylianna (Mantzouris), Saige (Randloph) and Erin (Huban) that are all great captains. They kind of get us all on the right track.
Q: Did you feel the team was capable of making it this far?
A: For sure. It was a goal set from the beginning of the season, first to win Section II and then to see how far we could go after that. I feel confident we do good in the future.
Q: Regardless of what about happens this weekend, the program did not win a game five years ago. Does it make you feel special to be part of something that has never been done before in program history?
A: It is really special. Our environment is crazy, seeing we interact with each other in our practices. We are talking, always.
Q: People talk about sharing the ball, but often don’t follow through. Your team does. The team’s success is a combination of a number of solid players contributing. Does it make the team’s success more enjoyable?
A: Yeah, being on this team is really special because it is not just one person. We all have roles and are contributing.
Q: When did you start playing basketball?
A: I starting playing when I was in third grade.
Q: What was it about the sport that you enjoyed?
A: I played a lot of other sports, but basketball has always stuck because it is really competitive and that is what drives me.
Q; You have to win Friday to get to the championship game Saturday. What would it mean to win a state championship?
A: That would be really special for all of us. Doing something that has never been done before would be great. Experiencing that together would be amazing as we’re always together. I think that would be something none of us would forget.
Q: What has coach Bryan Capitula and his coaching staff meant to this team’s success?
A: They definitely are very supportive and always there for us. Without them, honestly, I don’t think we would be in the position we’re in.
Q: How much enjoyment have you experienced this season?
A: It has been amazing. I have never been on a team that has gelled like this. There are never any issues and we all get along great. Are we really always together, so these girls feel like my sisters.