Penn-Traddord’s Palarino signs with St. Francis Brooklyn basketball
When Maria Palarino was weighing her college choices, she decided to take a bite of the Big Apple with her commitment.
The senior guard/forward signed her letter of intent with St. Francis Brooklyn last week over offers from several Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference teams.
“I really loved the location being in New York City,” Palarino said. “There are a lot of good opportunities there. The coaches are fantastic and I love all of them.
“It is a school where the education is strong and the basketball is very competitive.”
The Terriers are a member of the Northeast Conference at the NCAA Division I level. Other teams in the conference include Bryant, Central Connecticut, Fairleigh Dickinson, LIU Brooklyn, Mount St. Marys, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart, St. Francis University and Wagner.
Coach Josh Thurston has been the head coach of St. Francis Brooklyn for two years but has 42 years of experience with stops at Division I, II and III schools.
The team is coming off a 19-11 season, a massive improvement from 2011-12 when it only won four games. It was the best overall performance in program history.
“I have wanted to play college basketball since I was in middle school,” Palarino said. “I started the recruiting process then by going to showcases and playing AAU. To be sitting here signing a letter to go Division I is amazing.
“I wanted to get the decision done before school and sign before the season. It is a major relief.”
Palarino is a multi-sport athlete, also playing volleyball for Penn-Trafford.
Palarino was a major catalyst of last season’s WPIAL Class AAAA basketball title win. She averaged 17.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.4 steals per game during the season. Her scoring increased to 18.5 points per game during the WPIAL playoff run. Penn-Trafford went 20-7 last season, won the Section 1-AAAA title and defeated Hempfield, 56-45, for the WPIAL title. The Warriors saw their season end in the PIAA first round as they fell to North Allegheny, 64-39.
Palarino’s said her time in high school has made her a more versatile paler.
“I can play either guard or forward,” said the 5-foot-10 Palarino. “Whatever my team needs me to do, I can do it.”
With practices starting this week, Palarino was relieved to have her college decision out of the way. Penn-Trafford is primed to have another strong campaign after losing just two seniors from last year’s roster.
She is now focused on finding success with the Warriors one last time.
“We are going to go one step at a time,” Palarino said. “I hope we can win another section title and defend our WPIAL title. It would be amazing to win states.”
Penn-Trafford starts its season Dec. 5 at the Norwin tournament against Plum.