Tori Nigro can play many different styles of basketball.
She more than proved that in high school.
Nigro, who lives in Winchester Park, began her high school career at Archbishop Ryan High School. She was a starter there, but decided to transfer to St. Basil after her sophomore year. Things were going great there, but early in her first year there, the school announced it was closing at the end of the school year.
So the point guard was in the market for a new school and she decided to go to Villa Joseph Marie for her final year.
There, she played in two systems after the Jems’ coach quit shortly before the season ended. So in four years of high school, she played for three schools and four coaches, including two this season. And through it all, she always had the ball in her hands.
“It was really hard when I heard Basil’s was closing because I loved it there,” Nigro said. “I was mostly in shock, I think. I had just gotten there, and as time went on, I loved it more and more, so it started to hurt.
“I didn’t know where I was going to go. Basically, Nazareth and Villa were our rivals. I knew I wanted to stay close, even though Villa is kind of far. I wanted to win and I wanted to be with my friends, but the thing that roped me in at Villa was the academics. That was the main reason I came here.”
The basketball wasn’t too bad, either.
The Jems won 18 games this year, advanced to the District One championship game and went on to win a game in the state tournament.
Their point guard was a big reason for that.
Nigro was the Most Valuable Player in the Catholic Academies League. She averaged 15.1 points per game and ended her career with 1,074 points.
For her career, she has been an all-league selection every year.
But she’s far more excited to talk about team achievements than she is talking about her individual accolades.
“We had a lot of changes, a lot of new players like me, but throughout the year, we kept overcoming all the obstacles in front of us,” Nigro said. “I thought we developed and became a team pretty quickly. Maybe it wasn’t easy all the time, but I think we had a team we can be proud of and I hope it opens the eyes of younger girls to consider Villa.”
Nigro was all business this season, but since it was her last year and she was surrounded by friends, she made sure to enjoy the moment and have fun. Winning helped.
“We had a lot of fun this year,” Nigro said. “You need to have moments where it’s all business, but I also wanted to make sure we had fun. You need to enjoy yourself, I think that makes basketball better. The closer we got, the more we trusted each other. If you don’t have fun, you’re not going to be as successful.”
Nigro admits there were times she left her comfort zone of being a pass-first point guard, but that was a challenge she happily accepted. And the more she scored, the better the Jems seemed to do.
“I wasn’t told to score more, but my mindset coming from a point guard, I just want to help my team win,” Nigro said. “I had to meet a certain standard in some games where we needed points. I had to be a threat to score. When I wasn’t scoring, my teammates were doing great. I played with some really good players.”
Nigro was a scoring threat, and that not only led to wins, but the great milestone of 1,000 points.
She wasn’t the only one excited about hitting the mark, and that meant more to her than the milestone.
“It was an individual goal for me, it’s a great thing to do, but I wasn’t too worried about it,” Nigro said. “I made it known to my teammates and coaches that that’s not what I care about it. I knew if I scored, it would help us win, but it felt great knowing my teammates were behind me, it was great. I didn’t focus on that because I had a different focus, but it definitely felt good to score 1,000 points.”
Next year, Nigro will attend Jefferson University and after a year of redshirting, she’ll be ready to play.
“They like when we redshirt because it gives you a chance to get your master’s,” Nigro said. “I loved Jefferson. People say go with your gut, and I really felt at home there. I loved the coaches and the players.
“At first I didn’t want to redshirt, but I think it will help me. They have some really good players that I can learn from. And Jefferson is a great academic school. That was the biggest thing I wanted.”
She’s leaning toward majoring in health science, though she’s unsure what she wants to do after graduation. The medical field, including physical therapy, is a distinct possibility. She also wants to remain active in basketball after college.
“I know I want to be involved with physical activity, so that’s why I was thinking the medical field and maybe PT,” Nigro said. “I would like to coach. I thought about that. I love basketball and I would really like to help kids. I thought about doing it now, just working with kids. I know I want to coach.”