BRISTOL - The St. Paul girls basketball team is off to an 11-2 start to begin the season but will now have to deal with a potential season-altering injury.
Janessa Gonzalez, the team’s leading scorer, is out for the season with a knee injury according to head coach Joe Mone.
Gonzalez, the first player off the bench last season as a freshman, had the Falcons out to a 10-1 start this season before suffering the injury six minutes into the game against Holy Cross.
After losing five of its seniors last year, Gonzalez was the replacement at point guard for Brigid Johndrow and was averaging 19 points per game.
Coming into the season Gonzalez knew she had to step up.
“Last year we had Brigid,” fellow sophomore Jade Udoh said in an interview prior to Gonzalez’s injury. “Brigid kind of told Janessa where to go. Now Janessa is kind of the Brigid of the team. She’s the point guard now. She’s always been a shooting guard, scoring guard. She’s still kept her performance up.”
The Falcons still have talent on the floor and are 1-1 since the Holy Cross game, a loss to Seymour and most recently a win over Derby.
In the win over the Red Raiders, Udoh had a team-leading 23 points.
St. Paul is back where it started looking for somebody to step up big.
For Gonzalez it was all about the team despite her stellar individual play.
Regardless, the loss is crucial for a team that was off to such a strong start.
“As a team we’re really progressing each and every day,” Gonzalez said. “We had lost five seniors and we knew we had to bounce back from that. Each player needed to step up every game.”