The transition from high school to the college is never easy.
Former Woonsocket High standout Brooke Coderre found that out in August before she even put on her high tops as an incoming freshman at Franklin Pierce University.
“It was probably the first day,” she said.”I realized it right away, leaving all my friends and playing for a new team, a new coach. You realize pretty quick it’s not high school.”
After an outstanding career at Woonsocket the past four years where she earned multiple all-state honors and also led the Villa Novans to back-to-back state titles (2009, 2010) in Division II and Div. I, respectively, Coderre has adjusted nicely to her new surroundings at the small New Hampshire school.
With the season approaching the midway point, the 18-year-old Coderre is a starting guard for a Ravens’ team that currently stands a respectable 10-5 overall and 6-3 in the Northeast-10. Coderre, who averages 5.0 points per game, earned her starting position in the first regular season game of the year — a 73-61 win at Molloy College.
Incidentally, in that contest she hit double-digits with a team-high 11 points.
“Each player had an individual meeting with our coaches and my goal was to get meaningful minutes,” Coderre said. “I definitely didn’t think I would start.”
Coderre’s first taste of collegiate action actually wasn’t at Molloy. A week earlier, the gifted frosh and her teammates faced two-time defending national champion Connecticut in an exhibition game at the Huskies’ Gampel Pavilion.
Although UConn, the NCAA record-holder for consecutive victories (90), won easily, Coderre cherished the experience. As for her one-on-one matchup in the tilt — three-time All-American Maya Moore.
“It was just amazing as soon as we got there,” Coderre recalled. “We were really giddy being there. We knew we weren’t going to end their streak, but just to play the best team in the country was amazing.”
While playing under her father and WHS coach George Coderre, Brooke Coderre dazzled her opponents with her work on both ends of the floor, averaging about 14 points a game and creating havoc with her defensive skills. It was a work ethic that enabled her to make the all-state team three straight years, including a first-team selection her last two.
Coderre hasn’t quite gained her shooting touch for the Ravens, but she has been designated as one of their top defensive players and often covers the opposition’s top shooter.
“Pretty much my coach is like my dad, telling me to shoot more,” she said. “It hasn’t really come yet. We have a lot of scorers. Somebody new always steps up.”
Coderre’s best offensive showing for Franklin Pierce came on Nov. 23 when she scored a team-high 14 points and dished out four assists in the Ravens’ 73-51 rout of St. Michael’s. The ex-Woonsocket star was six-for-eight from the field.
“That was probably my best all-around game as far as my confidence goes,” Coderre said. “It was my most relaxed game. There have been a lot of ups and downs.”
Franklin Pierce is a quality Division II school. Last year, the Ravens compiled a 32-2 overall mark and were 21-1 in the NE-10. Franklin Peirce made it all the way to the Final 8 of the NCCA Tournament where it was eventually ousted by Fort Lewis.
The Ravens lost All-American Johannah Leedham from that squad and have red-shirted their only two returning seniors – former R.I. stars, Cynthia Gaudette (La Salle Academy) and Tori Ahrens (East Greenwich High). Still, despite a young team, Franklin Pierce got off to a strong start this year, winning its first seven games.
The 2010-11 squad consists of two juniors, three sophomores and four freshmen.
“I think it was very unexpected because we are so young,” said Coderre. “I think the coaches are definitely happy with the way it started. I think it’s just been our preparation. As soon as we got here, we went hard at conditioning. We lost an All American and I think everyone feels we have something to prove with her not here.”
Woonsocket had a grueling schedule in the Division I ranks en route to its victory over La Salle in last year’s title game where Coderre earned MVP honors. The newest Raven frosh noted it’s certainly more demanding once you reach the collegiate level.
“Just the nature of the teams; everyone you are playing is good,” she said. “You can’t take a day off. High school I used to think I worked hard, but once here it goes at a faster pace. Every single one of my teammates is very good.”
Coderre admits she misses playing for the Villa Novans and her former teammates. Over the recent Christmas vacation, she attended a contest with Lincoln where she handled the scoring for her dad. She even participated in a few practices.
“I’ll always be a Novan,” she said.
Besides excelling on the court, Coderre has continued to prosper in the classroom, too. At Woonsocket, she was a member of the National Honor Society and was the senior class president.
Among several schools that tried to lure her their way, including a few Div. I programs, Coderre believes she made the right decision going to Franklin Pierce.
“I definitely think so now that I am here,” she said. “The girls on the team, the coaches, I got a 3.9 GPA my first semester. It’s just a good fit.”