Bristol Press Athletes of the Week are St. Paul's Mike Palmieri and Bristol Central's Ashley Watson

Published on Monday, 12 February 2018 22:39


Two basketball players who had earned previous “Athlete of the Week” nods have been chosen for the honor once again. They are three-time pick Mike Palmieri of St. Paul and two-time selection Ashley Watson of Bristol Central.

The pick of Watson, the daughter of Chris and Laura Watson, comes after the Rams’ 49-32 loss to the visiting Blue Devils from Plainville on Friday.

“Ashley has really played well over the last month,” Central coach Steve Gaudet said. “She has improved in every aspect of her game. She is being more aggressive on the offensive end, has increased her rebounds per game, and has become much more of a leader on and off the court.

“In her last game against Plainville she led the team in both points and rebounds, 14 points and 15 rebounds, and also added three blocks. I wish our season was not coming to an end, because Ashley over the last three-plus weeks has really hit her stride and has become our most productive player.”

The Rams finished their 2017-2018 campaign last night.

“I’d say we had a tough season with a lot of losses,” Watson said. “I feel we have a lot of talent on our team and we continue to work hard. I’m looking forward to next season. Next year, I’d like to be a good leader for the team, because that’s important.

“I’d also like to improve on my ball-handling. My sister, Ella, will be coming to play next year and she’ll be bringing a lot of talent to the team. She’s a good point guard and that’ll be good to have on the team. Our point guard this season, Sarah Guerin, will be graduating.”

In addition to basketball, Watson also plays volleyball and lacrosse for Bristol Central, but her favorite is basketball.

“I’ve been playing since first grade,” Watson said. “It’s like a family thing. That’s what my family is doing most of the time. I have two sisters, Ella and Brooke, who is 11-years-old, and my father has been into basketball all of his life.”

She added how playing sports has benefited her.

“It’s brought a lot of great people into my life,” Watson said. “It’s taught me how to deal with adversity, and most of my friends are those who are playing sports.”

Palmieri, a senior captain, is the son of Maureen and Mike Palmieri of Bristol. He was a second team Class S All-State player as a sophomore and last year was placed on the first team. This past week, he scored 20 and seven points in two team victories.

“Mike has taken on more responsibility this year as a senior ... and has done a wonderful job with that, in addition to enhancing his playing ability,” Falcons coach Steve Phelps said.

“Mike represents everything that is right and good with high school athletics,” Phelps added. “He’s a credit to his family, to his school, and to the St. Paul Catholic basketball family.”

The Falcons were 10-6 coming into this week.

“I think we’re playing our best basketball yet,” Palmieri said. “We started getting used to each other. As practice and games go on, our ceiling continues to rise. Our team this year is probably the most talented we’ve had in a while and once that comes together, we’ll be tough to stop in March.”

His goals include going all the way in the state tournament and, personally, being selected for All-State honors for a third time. Going into last night’s game, he was 48 points shy of the 1,000-point career mark, another goal he wants to reach.

Palmieri competed in track and field his first two years at St. Paul and has since changed to lacrosse and says he has benefited from all of his sports.

“Sports has made me more disciplined and a structured individual,” Palmieri said. “Being a two-year captain [in basketball] has taught me responsibility and work ethic.”

He plans on going to college next year, but is undecided where that will be. He added that he’ll play basketball at the Division III level.

Contact Bob Montgomery by calling 860-973-1808 or by email:

Posted in The Bristol Press, Athletes of the Week, Bristol Central, St. Paul on Monday, 12 February 2018 22:39. Updated: Monday, 12 February 2018 22:41.