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Villa Novans' Fugere is R.I. Gatorade Player of Year

March 8, 2012

Woonsocket's Kailey Fugere. PHOTO ERNEST A. BROWN

WOONSOCKET — George Coderre sounded more like a proud father rather than a head coach upon being informed that Woonsocket High senior Kailey Fugere had been selected by Gatorade as the 2011-12 R.I. Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
“She’s always been an outstanding athlete,” noted Coderre on Thursday morning, “but to see her round out her game and see her adjust from year to year … she’s a quiet and unassuming kid and to see her take on more of a leadership role, that’s why she’s been a pleasure to coach.”
Fugere owns the distinction as becoming the first Woonsocket girls’ basketball player to receive this high honor from The Gatorade Company in collaboration with ESPNHS. The press release notes that this particular award recognizes “not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court.”
There’s no question that Fugere embodies every single aspect of the criteria laid out by the Gatorade selection committee. The 5-foot-9 forward averaged 21.2 points, 11.6 rebounds, 2.7 blocks, 2.4 steals and 1.5 assists per game this past season, leading the Villa Novans to the Division I state quarterfinals for the second consecutive year.
A 2011 Second Team All-State selection, Fugere shot 59.7 percent from the field and 70 percent from the free throw line. The state’s leading scorer as a senior, she concluded her high school basketball career with 1,360 points and 849 rebounds.
“She finished one point behind Brooke (Coderre) among the all-time Woonsocket scoring leaders,” George Coderre said. “Her skill set is so unique in that she doesn’t need the ball, nor she does she want it to revolve around her. Every coach wants a kid like that who’s willing to do the dirty work. You don’t have to run anything for her.”
The Woonsocket coach marveled at how Fugere was able to register such impressive totals despite being the focal point of opposing defenses. She was also hindered by a knee injury late in the season, one that forced her to miss four games.
“Let’s face it, she was double-teamed every time she touched the ball. To be effective under those conditions to the point that she was dominant, it was pretty special,” said Coderre, effusive in his praise of his star player.
The know-how Fugere displayed on the hardwood was not lost upon rival coaches. “Kailey Fugere can really play,” said Gary Martinelli, head coach at Ponaganset High. “She is difficult to match up with because she is so smart and strong. She is very active and has good footwork and great hands.”
Fugere also exceeds in the classroom, maintaining a B-plus average. She has volunteered locally on behalf of a literacy-outreach program as a volleyball and bowling coach for physically and intellectually challenged youth and with the Respite Program, serving families with special-needs children.
The R.I. Gatorade POY company Fugere joins includes past recipients Kelly Mannix (2010-11, Barrington High School), Allie Jones (2009-10, South Kingstown), Torey Jones (2008-09, La Salle Academy), Pawtucket native Brittany Wilson (2007-08, St. Mary Academy-Bay View), Meredith Ward (2006-07, Westerly), Bethany O'Dell (2005-06, Lincoln), Chelsea Marandola (2003-04, Johnston), and Joanna Skiba (2002-03, Classical). Fugere is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year award to be announced later this month.
Fugere will play at basketball at Rhode Island College next year. “She wants to get into the nursing program,” Coderre said. “No matter where she goes, Kailey will be a very coachable kid.”

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