TERRYVILLE - With the game on the line, Terryville girls basketball senior captain McKenzie Huria wanted the ball in her hands.
But as a one-win team, the Kangaroos were rarely in a position to give her that opportunity.
That doesn’t take away from the countless hours of dedication and hard work Huria’s allotted to the sport and the future she has in it.
“Basketball is my life,” Huria said. “I don’t think there’s ever a moment where I’m not playing it or watching it. I’ve spent my summers dedicated to the sport, playing wherever I could and going to camps. It’s been a really big part of my life.”
Her four years of development at the high school level shapes what may very well become a successful collegiate career.
“I’ve had an amazing four years at Terryville High School,” Huria said. “I’ve learned so much about myself and about basketball through this program. Coming in as a freshman I was really nervous. I didn’t know where I stood on the team, but I had a lot of teammates along the way and I think I’ve really developed into a good player throughout the four years I’ve been here.”
Huria’s passion for the game and willingness to push her limits has culminated in her individual success on the court. She’s been a remarkable player for Terryville and her career in the orange and white colors will be remembered.
Huria averaged 13.2 points per game, made more than 40 3-pointers, shot just under 80 percent from the free throw line and averaged six rebounds per game as the star player in her final season.
In the one Terryville win, against Wilby, Huria scored 22 of the Kangaroos’ 42 points.
Without experiencing a winning season at the high school level, Huria is hoping to change that at the next level as she decides between Western Connecticut State University and Elms College.
“In college I’m looking to have a really successful team,” Huria said. “I haven’t been able to [be part] of a team that has that much success with Terryville basketball, but hopefully going into college our team can be really successful and I’m just hoping to make an impact on a team.”
Huria’s drive to get better has distinguished her on the court.
She took up the game recreationally as a first grader and fell in love with it playing at the YMCA before making the travel team in sixth grade for Waterbury, which is where it all took off.
Whether it was practicing at home, participating in basketball camps such as the PGC (Point Guard College) basketball camp or Thomaston basketball camp with Bob McMahon, playing for the Connecticut Trotters or shooting in the Terryville gym, Huria always had her eyes set on becoming a better player.
Coming into her final season Huria established an inside game, something that wasn’t a weapon for her on the floor in years before. She was previously known as just a 3-point shooter. Her added ability to get into the paint gave Huria an extra scoring dimension to use.
“Especially junior year going into senior year she tried her hardest, and I’m not kidding that she literally shot 500 shots a day after school,” fellow Kangaroos senior and neighbor Alana Girch said. “She’s the definition of commitment. I don’t know how you can get more committed than McKenzie [is]. Even though we’re the same age, I’ve always looked up to her and how she plays.”
All her hard work leading into her senior season helped Huria be named the captain for the Kangaroos. It was well-deserving for a player that truly puts an emphasis on embracing her teammates and doing her best to help teach the younger players how to play at the varsity level.
“Being a captain meant a lot to me,” Huria said. “I try to be a leader on and off the court and just help girls out with basketball or problems outside of the sport. It really means a lot to me that [my younger teammates] come up to me and talk to me.”
Huria is certain to be named the MVP for Terryville, according to her teammates. Being named the most valuable player on a one-win team may be bittersweet, but she’ll go down as one of the best players the program has had in recent years and has had no regrets being part of the Kangaroos’ basketball program.
“I’d like to be known with the team as a whole rather than individually,” Huria said. “I really just hope people recognize the team as a whole. Even though we didn’t have a successful season, we tried really hard.”
Regardless of her college choice, her high school teammates will be rooting for her to experience success at the next level.
“I’ve never met anybody more hard working than her,” sophomore and close friend Amy Roqi said of Huria. “I’m not talking about just basketball. Just in general, she’s the hardest worker I’ve ever met. People are definitely going to be speaking highly of her and what she did for years [at Terryville]. Even though our record doesn’t show it, she definitely pushed this team a lot. She was extremely important. If we didn’t have her, our season would have been extremely worse. She is an incredible player. I think she will be incredibly important to her college team. If not freshman year, then sophomore year in college she’ll probably start. I have no doubt about it.”
Dan Orencole can be reached at or