There are now two players from the Dobbs Ferry girls’ basketball program who committed to colleges prior to the end of their junior year.
Kayla Halvorsen has signed on to play at Division 2 Mercy College, months after Julia Schwabe decided to continue her lacrosse career at the University of Michigan. Halvorsen is a guard on head coach Stephanie Mills’ team.
“Living so close, I was able to see the construction that was done to the campus,” Halvorsen said about the Mercy campus in Dobbs Ferry. “The changes that were made blew me away. The campus is so beautiful. Last year, in October, I attended the Mercy College basketball clinic and it was amazing to see the difference in the gym considering I used to play CYO basketball there.”
She continued, “Everything had changed, the facility has completely elevated and was so super cool to play in. During the clinic I instantly connected with the coaching staff. The environment was super fun and positive but also very competitive and hardworking.”
“Coach [Scott] Lagas had me on campus for a tour to really see what the campus had to offer and I immediately loved everything about it,” Halvorsen said.
During that Oct. 17 tour, Lagas made an offer to Halvorsen.
“The communication between Coach Lagas and I truly had an influence on my decision to go to Mercy, along with the beautiful campus and outstanding academics,” Halvorsen said. “I wanted to join a program that had a positive atmosphere and that believed that I could have a positive impact when arriving. And I wanted to go to a school where I could explore the many majors I am interested in such as Nursing and Exercise Science and be challenged. In which all I found at Mercy.”
As her recruiting journey continued, Halvorsen concentrated on more and more D-2 and D-3 schools, including Assumption College, Adelphi University, St. Thomas Aquinas, Hartwick College, Trinity College, Skidmore College, Smith College, Emory University, and Wellesley College.
She said location “wasn’t exactly a factor” in her decision. “Due to being on the basketball team, it’s a requirement to dorm so I knew I would still get the college-life experience, but it’s a plus being close to home so that my family and my coaches can all see me play.”
Halvorsen believes her basketball IQ and versatility are her strengths on the court.
“I feel that I understand the game of basketball very well, which has helped my development as a combo guard be very beneficial in both aspects of defense and offense,” she said. “This has helped with my vision of the court and being able to see or assume what’s next and create plays without actual plays.”
Halvorsen continued, “I also feel that being a combo guard has benefitted me so much. I’ve been able to play positions from point guard to a small forward. This has gained me the strength to be tough in the paint but also ready to knock down a three.”
She also knows she will need to raise her game to succeed on the next level.
“There is always room for improvement in every aspect of my game,” Halvorsen said. “Creating the great relationships I have made with other college coaches and trainers, I love to listen and keep in mind the advice that they have for me. This being said, I feel I need to develop more double moves, create more opportunities for myself and others, and most importantly handle the pressure of being face-guarded. These will greatly benefit me and prepare me for the next level.”
The fact that the recruiting process is over early means that Halvorsen can enjoy her senior year at Dobbs Ferry.
“It is such a relief to not have to worry about college recruiting, especially for my senior year,” she said. “It actually makes playing the game so much more fun. It takes me back to just playing to play, before even knowing about the details of actually playing college basketball, where the tournaments were college coach free, where it was just my teammates, my coach, the ball, and me.
“For my senior year, I want to continue working hard in school and on the court,” she added. “My academics are very important to me and I want to continue doing my best.”