She’s not the biggest basketball player you will ever see, but if you ask anyone associated with the Fontainebleau High girls’ basketball team, they will tell you that she is the most important.
Meet Shawna Torregano.
A starter since she arrived on the Fontainebleau High campus three years ago, the 5-6 senior point guard has begun her final season at The Kennel and has the Bulldogs off to a 3-2 start through their first five games of the season.
“It’s the ‘last first’ for me a lot,” Torregano said. “I joke with my mom that this is my last-ever first home game. I don’t think it has hit me yet, but when league play begins, I think it will.
"I try to give 100 percent every game, but if I ever need any more motivation, I look around and know I want to give my teammates all the effort I can give. That pushes you through the tough times. I want to be my best for them.”
Torregano’s best has seen her increase her numbers every year since her freshman season, particularly in the assists column (2.0 as a freshman 3.4 as a junior). Through five games as a senior, her point production has increased as well, averaging 13.4 points a game (compared to 7.7 as a junior).
“People always ask how I am now compared to how I was as a freshman, and I would have to say that basically I’m just more of mature player out on the court now,” she said. “I play calmer now. I can remember as a freshman coming in and trying to bulldoze my way through three people for a shot. Now, I am about running the play, getting open and getting it done that way.
“I know more points are going to have to come from me this year if we want to get to where we want to be as a team. ... I just get to unleash that (offensive, shoot first mentality) now. I was the distributor for the first three years of my career, I can flip it easily now. If I need to score, I can do it. That just comes with years of experience on the basketball court.”
Head coach Mark Beason said he couldn’t have asked for a better player or a better person.
“She’s a good kid that comes from a hard-working, down-to-earth family,” he said. “They show up for everything, and you can tell where Shawna gets everything from. (She) is a hard-working kid that takes a tremendous amount of pride in everything that she does."
Her talent was there from the beginning.
“When she walked into this gym as a freshman, we were replacing seven seniors from a team that went 21-9 the season prior. I knew we had Angelle Darby, and honestly at that point I figured that was all I had.
"Shawna walked in the door and they were the team. When Angelle missed time, Shawna was the only kid that could go get a basket for us. So, needless to say, she was good from the first moment she walked in the door.”
On pace to hit the prestigious 1,000 career-point mark this season, Torregano said she also takes pride in the fact that she was projected to start every single game of her Fontainebleau High career.
“It’s an honor,” she said. “I am the first freshman to start every single game since Jaclyn Scholvin. That means so much because I grew up idolizing her as a player. People also talk about me hitting the 1,000 career-point mark and my name on the wall, but honestly, I am more about what the team needs to do to win games.
"If I don’t need to score, I would be just as happy to get the assists, so my teammates could reach the 1,000-point mark. That’s just how I was raised. Credit my parents. It’s always been that way in my family.”
For Beason, Torregano on the court is an extension of himself, something that the Bulldogs coach said can only come from trust between player and coach.
“The best way I would describe our relationship is that Shawna can argue with me and I can know what she is talking about,” Beason said. “I don’t feel disrespected and it works both ways.
"I don’t always have to explain things to Shawna; she understands what I’m trying to get across to her and this team. That’s not something that just happens. It takes a chemistry between coach and player, and we have that. That can only make this team better.
“The best part about Shawna Torregano is that she has an ego, but she knows how to put it in check. She is a good player and can take over when she wants to, but she knows also when to just put her nose to the grindstone and get going.”