by Tom Pedulla –
Camryn McCarthy learned the fundamentals of basketball from a treasured and trusted source – her father.
Stephen coached her when she played on a Catholic Youth Organization team in the second grade, emphasizing the basics of dribbling, passing and developing a quick release on her shot.
Those invaluable lessons helped McCarthy to attain great heights at Dobbs Ferry High School, where the soft-spoken leader of a high-powered team recently emerged as a 1,000-point scorer.
“I think it’s really important to learn the small stuff early because then you can build on that,” she said. “So, it’s really nice that I had someone to teach me the fundamentals early.”
McCarthy aspired to achieve the milestone at a young age. “It was something I’d seen other people get,” she said. “I’d watch all the girls play with my dad. It was just really nice to feel I accomplished something with all the hard work.”
McCarthy’s game was so advanced that she has been starting for Dobbs Ferry’s varsity since the eighth grade. Stephanie Mills, in her first year as coach, was delighted when the 5-7 senior guard reached the 1,000-point plateau with a feathery jump shot at Pleasantville.
“Basketball-wise, she will do anything for the team, whether it’s making shots or playing good defense,” Mills said. “She’s just really such a good, good kid.”
Raquel Addona, a senior guard, points to McCarthy in explaining why Dobbs Ferry is a Class B force this winter and why it has enjoyed a succession of winning seasons since she joined the varsity.
“Camryn obviously is a great shooter, but she is so much more than that,” Addona said. “She is a great leader on and off the court. When she’s on the court trying to get her point across, everyone will listen.”
McCarthy is so skilled at reading defenses and anticipating what opponents will do that Mills refers to her as a “quiet coach” on the floor. The senior constantly draws from the wealth of knowledge she gained while in grammar school, and she takes a gentle approach when teammates need to make adjustments during the flow of the game.
“A lot of time I lead by actions instead of words. I’m not an outspoken person,” she said. “I try to do the right things and the little things so other people see that.”
Above all, McCarthy is known for her torrid shooting, especially beyond the three-point arc.
“When Camryn is hot and she’s making her shots, she’s unstoppable,” said Alexa Reith, a senior guard.
Fast starts tend to lead to unbelievable finishes for McCarthy.
“When I hit the first one, I kind of settle in and I’m much more relaxed and it helps me keep going,” she said. “I’m not worried about other things. I’m very focused on making the right shot and the right pass and doing what I have to do rather than making a mistake.”
The improvement of her inside game this year has become a great asset.
“Now, she can get to the basket and she’s creating a bit more, and she has such a quick release that defenses don’t see it coming,” Mills said. “She catches and shoots. There is no hesitation. That’s a big weapon for her.”
Some prolific scorers become consumed by their statistics. Not McCarthy.
“She does not want personal glory,” Mills said. “For her, it’s all about getting wins and making the most of the season.”
McCarthy’s father likely taught her selflessness, too.